Youth Sports to Ask Congress for $8.5B in Stimulus

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A pair of youth sports organizations have joined forces with a lobbyist to petition congress for an $8.5 billion stimulus package that would help the youth sports industry recoup losses incurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Council of Youth Sports and Triple Crown Sports, in cooperation with lobbyist Active Policy Solutions, are preparing a letter to send to senators Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York) that asks for “federal money to offset program and tournament cancellations, support the development of youth sports policies to handle the risks of contagious viruses, and invest in targeted grant programs that impact youth sport providers.”

“The youth sports sector plays a critical role in our economy and the development of our youth but has faced particularly severe consequences as a result of the coronavirus and resulting national emergency,” according to a post from The Aspen Institute, which obtained a copy of the letter. “For these reasons, crucial additional steps need to be taken to stabilize the industry and invest in recovery.”

Approximately 113 organizations have signed the letter. Among the organizations are leading providers of travel team sports, as well as USA Football, US Lacrosse, U.S. Soccer Foundation, USA Volleyball, USA Wrestling, Pop Warner, PONY Baseball and Softball, software providers TeamSnap and SportsEngine, and some non-profit providers such as Girls on the Run International, Up2Us Sports, and America SCORES.

Whether congress will have any appetite for this kind of package remains unclear.

“I think they recognize the unique role of how youth sports support kids after, and even during, the crisis,” said Active Policy Solutions CEO Terri Lakowski. “I think there’s an appetite for doing something and making sure our industry survives. We’re still early in the process in working out details and legislation.”

Youth sports are an estimated $19 billion industry, according to research by WinterGreen Research. The proposed $8.5 billion ask of Congress came by estimating that youth sports organizations will lose 50 percent of their revenue from cancelled or postponed events between March and May, according to Keri King, CEO of Triple Crown Sports.

“It’s somewhat anecdotal how I came up with the number. There wasn’t a survey,” King said. “It’s based off my perspective of where things are headed and the high potential to lose June and July. Part of the number is also the (elite athlete training) academies. They’ve had to shutter their doors and they are in a major dilemma, even more so than the event business.”

King reported that Triple Crown Sports has lost 15 percent of its revenue during the crisis and likely is headed to 50 percent if the organization doesn’t return until late July. He said that no return in 2020 would cost about 85 percent of the organization’s revenue.

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