The High Cost of Sports Can Teach Kids Finances

Tips for teaching young athletes off the field skills



The Kids Play USA Foundation reports that the average cost of school and non-school sport participation fees can cost between $100 and $400 per child, per sport each season. The fees to participate often exclude the gear and supplies needed for a sport so parents can be looking at a hefty sum spent by the time the season ends. Young athletes can get wrapped up in thinking about the potential money they could earn as a professional athlete, but fail to understand the costs involved in playing a sport and the importance of budgeting.

Here are a few tips for parents of young athletes for teaching them financial skills while paying to play a sport:

  • Playing sports is expensive and a growing number of schools are adopting a pay-to-play rule. Have your kids help earn the money to pay for uniforms, gear and fees by doing chores around the house. Use an organizational tool like BusyKid that allows you to keep track of completed chores and the payments that are due.
  • Save A Piece … As your child earns money to play sports, have him/her save 10-15% to put toward next season, private lessons or just to save. There are too many stories about successful athletes signing big contracts and being broke in a few years. This happens because they didn’t understand the value of money, how to save or how to budget. (All things that should be taught in school but aren’t) 
  • With growing talent often comes growing aspirations of college scholarships or lucrative professional contracts. Realistically, the odds are against most kids playing sports (an estimated 2% of high school athletes earn college scholarships and less than 10% ever make the professional level), but no matter, athletes need to learn how to manage money. 
  • Earn when not playing … Every sport has an off-season, so have your child take time away from practice and/or training to earn money by doing other things in sports – officiating, scorekeeping, field maintenance, etc.  Put money earned toward paying for equipment and fees
  • Give Back- Teach your child that giving to others helps build character. As your son or daughter progress in their athletic endeavors, younger kids could look up to them as role models. Remind them to share their talents and their time. Give when they can and what they can.

Bitten by the entrepreneur bug in 2005, Mike Prusinski played a key role in the start of the identity theft protection company LifeLock, and served as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for seven years. Prusinski has more than 30 years of public relations, marketing and strategic business experience, encompassing the corporate (LifeLock and LeapSpring) and sports (PGA, NASCAR & NCAA).  He is a graduate of Murray State University in Kentucky, married and the proud father of three.