Triple Crown Sports Leads Coalition for Youth Sports Relief Fund

Apr 15, 2020 | Member News

Youth Sports Relief and Recovery Request

Intention of this effort: To provide economic relief to the youth sports industry because it has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Why should Congress Prioritize Youth Sports?
There are some 60 million youth registered in organized youth sports programs. Organized sports provide protective factors for young people including physical, social, emotional and cognitive perks which extend far beyond the playing field. The delay of young people returning to sports is potential a public health and national security issue. A few facts about youth sports participants:

  • Protective factor for preventing obesity and chronic diseases. Physical inactivity also impacts our national security. According to the Pentagon, 27% of young Americans are too overweight to qualify for military service. This gap will only widen if sports are eliminated
  • Mitigates substance abuse, have less misconduct, and are less aggressive than their peers
  • Learn resilience in areas such as loss, failure, adversity and mistakes
  • Less likely to drop out of school, have a higher GPA and graduate from high school

Why do we need a youth sports recovery bill?
Youth Sports will be disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Youth sports is a $19B industry with $8.5B occurring through travel sports. The CARES Act provides some relief to small businesses and non-profits, but the timeline is limited. Insurance typically doesn’t cover pandemics, meaning that most of the expenses related to these cancelled events are not reimbursable or insurable, leaving a potentially crippling lost expense, dragging down, if not sinking, many youth sports organizations.

Additionally, many youth sports organizations will not qualify for some of the protections under the CARES Act such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) because of the unique structure of how youth sports organizations operate. Youth sports organizations are largely run by volunteers, contractor and seasonal coaches, not employees. However, to support their workforce, youth sports programs still have operational costs including training, background screening, programmatic planning, and member support services. These costs continue even while youth sports programs remain closed.

What economic losses are the youth sports field facing?
In just the youth sports sector, we estimate that there have been approximately $8.5B in losses due to coronavirus-response-related event cancellations. Similar losses are faced by venues scheduled to host these events that no longer can due to government restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.

As a 19B industry, March-July are the most significant months of operation and revenue generating for the youth sports field. Organizations have seen a 50% decline in the industry due to the loss of operations in March through May resulting in a $8.5B loss. These losses could be deepened if play cannot resume in June and July, where an additional 25% of the operations and revenue for youth sports is generated from June-July when kids are out of school.

Why is the youth sports sector more at risk for failure/closing organizations than other sectors?
Unlike other industries, under the current social distancing rules, youth sports are not happening and thus many youth sports organizations have seen their entire revenue stream stop. Furthermore, many youth sports programs, especially the nonprofits, are particularly reliant on corporate and philanthropic giving. Much of that support often comes from local restaurants and other business who are no longer in a position to give and probably will not be for quite some time.
Additionally, youth sports will be slower to return to play and operation than other sectors. Youth sports, by its nature, is conducted in groups and crowd-generating settings. Other sectors may be able to operate remotely but that is not feasible for youth sports. Procedures will need to be developed to safely allow the sports sectors to return to full operation, given the contact, group and crowd generating nature of youth sports. This could necessitate an extended period of shutdown across the youth sports industry before activities can resume.

How do we sustain youth sports?
We are proposing a Return to Play Plan for consideration by Congress:

  1. Extend the existing CARES Act programs and create a $8.5B relief fund for the youth sports sector. Guidelines will be developed to ensure organizations are meeting national health guidelines.
  2. Provide supplemental federal funding to create a Youth Sports COVID-19 Task Force to establish guidelines and protocols for the safe return and continuation of youth sports programs.

Who is eligible for the resources of the fund?
This designated fund for youth sports providers will extend to all youth sports programs, organizations, and providers including sports-based youth development organizations, interscholastic sports programs, youth sports providers such as coaches, trainers, and instructors, and youth sport event providers. Priority consideration in the disbursement of these funds will be given to programs serving under-served communities such as girls, youth with disabilities and at-risk youth.

How can youth sports organizations support this effort?

  • Join our movement by signing on to the Youth Sports relief package by contacting Allison Lee at [email protected]
  • Contact your members of Congress when the Coalition calls upon you to act to help advance our legislation.
  • Help us make the case for the need for this legislation by sharing your story with us on the economic impact COVID has had on your organization.