Travel youth sports teams are becoming increasingly popular despite the fact that they require a lot of time and dedication. With countless tournaments and games taking place throughout the summer, many families are finding themselves foregoing traditional vacations on behalf of their athletic kids.
But it’s not just the time that families are giving up – it’s the money. In a recent article on TODAY, Lisa Delpy Neirotti, an associate professor of sport management at George Washington University, estimated that families spend $10 billion on youth sports travel annually, and the figure has been rising every year.
The traveling costs of these teams are expensive – for many families, it’s vacation or sports travel – not both.
Recent research by American Express found that approximately 69 percent of Americans will go on vacations for at least one week this summer. For families already having to pay for sports-related travel, though, these vacation plans may be out of reach. Many families are substituting “sports vacations” for traditional summer getaways.
Don Schumacher, executive director of the National Association of Sports Commissions, said that the amount of young people who are participating in sports each year is declining; however, he believes that because of this, “the people who are participating are participating with a vengeance. They are playing a lot of games and entering a lot of tournaments.”
For this reason, travel sports teams are becoming increasingly popular since they’re much more serious than less competitive options.
Neirotti believes much of the interest in travel leagues stems from the fact that so many “kids are specializing in one sport at a young age.” Since these kids are playing the same sport year-round rather than seasonally, they are constantly seeking new competition, which requires traveling.
Considering the overwhelming popularity of youth sports leagues, vacations may be a thing of the past for families with kids participating in these traveling teams.
Have your vacation plans been altered by youth sports? Let us know in the comments below!
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