If you’re someone who manages, owns or helps with a sports league in anyway, you should know that it’s not cheap to maintain teams and keep everything running. Sports are expensive, and the reality is that no one knows that better than the parents who have to pay to have their children participate.
Depending on the type of sport, the duration of the season and the age of the child, some sports league participation fees can run in the thousands, and even those that are cheaper can still be hundreds of dollars. In lower income areas, the cost of a sports program tries to match what an average resident can pay, but what happens to those children who are below that average?
The cruel irony is that a lot of the time, youth sports is too expensive for those who need it the most.
It’s been proven that children who participate in youth sports do better in school, have a sense of purpose and higher self-esteem and become more community-minded. These are all components that can help keep a child out of trouble, and those below the poverty line are at a high risk of falling into bad habits as a victim of this poverty.
As youth sports league owners, managers and employees, it should be our job to help these children.
The answer to this problem shouldn’t be to shrug our shoulders and say “well, if they can’t pay, they can’t pay.” Resources exist to help out families who can’t afford youth sports in order to give their children a chance at better skills and a better life.
● Consider a tit for tat scenario. For instance, local soccer teams in Salado, Texas have an alternative to paying their nearly $400 registration fee – volunteer work. For a certain amount of hours spent taking care of the field, helping out with practice or attending games as a volunteer or assistant, a discount is applied to a child’s registration fees. After the maximum number of hours have been volunteered for, the fee is completely waived.
● Discuss sponsorship opportunities. Ask local businesses to sponsor children in exchange for advertising rights or something else you can offer them to make it worth their while. Get creative and start a dialogue – many local businesses are willing to shell out the cash if it means getting a good image with the community.
● Fundraise to support scholarships: Run a fundraiser well in advance of the next season to make up for your revenue loss and allow for financial aid or a payment plan. League Network offers fundraising help to leagues who need it. This includes resources, ideas and experts to help set you up for continued success.