Why are Youth Sports so Profitable Right Now?
Today, the new reality of young aspiring athletes in the United States is very different from that of years ago. Children of any skill level in any team sport are becoming part of a youth sports economy much like that of professional adults.
Little leagues that used to belong to low-income communities, such as towns, churches, and neighbourhoods, are no longer so bright. Little League participation has dropped by as much as 30% since the turn of the century.
These local leagues are no longer so important since they have been pushed aside by private club teams.
These private clubs offer development academies affiliated with professional sports franchises. The most competitive teams fight for future talent and travel to national tournaments.
The cost to parents is very high. More than 10% of the family income goes to these sports. Some parents must travel up to seven hours round trip to take their children to basketball practice. Some must travel up to 3 hours four days a week.
Other parents have no choice but to give up their childrencompletely. They leave them in institutions where they can easily spend up to a full year practicing. Sponsors pay for these fees, which can cost up to $30,000.
Many private companies take advantage of this. The youth sports economy in the United States represents a $15.4 billion market. Media, businesses, and former professional billionaires invest in technology that plans the schedules of young people. Increasingly, they are betting on youth sports to boost the local economy.
Recent studies show that early specialization in a single sport causes depression and exhaustion. Practically, these sports are becoming more privatized and large companies are putting a price on children.
Less than 3% of high school athletes play at the college sports level. Most parents spend thousands of dollars seeking an athletic scholarship for their children. But what parents ignore is that their children, knowing this, feel more pressure in sports and enjoy less what they are doing, which leads to frustration and high levels of anxiety.
Maybe it’s time for parents to think hard before putting their children through so much stress for a college scholarship. In many cases, it tends to be much better to save the money they spend on travel, uniforms, and so forth on their future college scholarships.
Parents’ support for their children through sports is good, but you must realize when you are pushing the limits of support to be mandatory.
On the other hand, as long as these big industries do not stop benefiting economically from these young dreamers, exploitation will continue for only a few dollars.