How Family Financial Investment Impacts Youth Sport

Review by: William A. Harper
By C. Ryan Dunn, Travis Dorsch, Michael Q. King, and Kevin Rothlisberger

The Big Idea

The estimates in the United States vary. But anywhere between 24 and 44 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 participate in organized youth sports. The measurement discrepancy is due to the wide-ranging framing of the demographics, geographies, and organizational structures. Let’s just say there is a glut of kids at play in the U.S. today, organizationally speaking.

On the one hand, there is good reason for this popular development. A long line of research verifies the many positive outcomes for youth participating in sport. These include: physical benefits, improved grades, opportunities for leadership, practice in goal-setting, improved self-confidence, and learning how to be a team player.

On the other hand, there are possible negative outcomes as well. Youngsters participating in organized sports can also experience lack of success, serious injuries, burnout, or financial challenges. This last- named financial challenge is creeping into the negative narrative of youth sports. These researchers decided to follow the money.