The High Cost of Active Kids

in Income Tax, School Expenses, Sports

Written back in 2009 when I had very active kids playing competitive sports!

I’ve written about this before, but I figured I’d rehash this topic, because the high cost of active kids are not dropping in any way shape or form.

For the 2008 basketball season my estimate was that the total cost of one of my daughters playing for a competitive team with travel, registration and team fees cost was about $1500 or so (that may be a little high).

Friends that have children that play competitive hockey are outlaying upwards of $5-10,000 a year in total costs, and higher in some situations. Figure Skating is a surprisingly very expensive sport for kids (costume costs, competition costs and coaching costs are enormous), as well. Other sports like Soccer, Football, Baseball and Volleyball I am sure cannot be that cheap either (I don’t have exact figures for those sports so I won’t comment, if anyone has any, please feel free to add them to the comments here).

Even with the  high cost of active kids their physical exertion is helping society to a certain extent by:

  • Instilling a sense of team and community pride.
  • Keeping our kids occupied (and thus not out spray painting our neighbours fences (hopefully))
  • Showing the value of physical fitness

Yes, it does sound like I am blowing my own horn, so I’ll stop there, but I think organized sports or activities is a good thing for kids. You should donate to your Boys & Girls Clubs because they are helping underprivileged kids stay active (and hopefully out of trouble).

What do people do who can’t afford this stuff? I know Canadian Tire runs a program to help out and locally in Ottawa there are a few community groups that are trying to help as well, but I am sure that is just not enough.

If you want to help out in your community and you have the extra money, maybe find a family that needs this kind of help, and offer to sponsor a kid for a year, your investment might pay back huge dividends in the long run.

Why the High Cost of Active Kids ?

Most sports fees are so expensive for many reaons, but some I know of are:

  • Very high insurance premiums since NO organized sport dare not have liability coverage.
  • Maintenance of fields, parks, gyms and rental of these facilities.
  • Fees to officials (not a very large cost, but still a cost).
  • Profit (yes some hockey leagues are run as FOR profit institutions).

When did Recreation become a big business?


  • Susan May 9, 2018, 10:07 PM

    As a goalie Mom I share the pain. Pads alone can cost $1000. But I found over the years that a lot of the expense is unnecessary. $100 warm up suits for 9 year olds. And when I “complained” suggesting better use would be an equipment fund or paying room costs for a tournament because for some people it is a financial burden, someone actually said if someone can’t afford to play they shouldn’t. However on the flip side there was a family who suffered a job loss and the league as able to waive some fees. But it’s crazy. Tryout fees. And ice time is very very costly.

    • bigcajunman May 10, 2018, 5:30 AM

      Hockey seems to be the most expensive with equipment for team sports, but all sports are getting expensive with fees (Soccer, Basketball, Ski’ing, etc.,). Why aren’t our kids active? It costs too darn much, for one thing.

  • Wilson May 7, 2009, 5:28 PM

    Profit (yes some hockey leagues are run as FOR profit institutions).

    Quoted for Truth.

    I know a guy who works for an average salary at a credit union ($50K-ish salary)that purchased an upscale condo in downtown Vancouver with a view of the water. What’s the relevance? He organizes one of these adult hockey (beer?)leagues. Enough said.

  • Michael James May 6, 2009, 8:18 AM

    Through the many years of my kids playing competitive basketball, the biggest cost for families was the cost of the parents transporting themselves to tournaments, paying for hotel rooms, and buying food in restaurants. The players themselves stayed 4 to a room and were often transported in a couple of vans. So, the actual player cost was fairly low.

    • bigcajunman May 6, 2009, 10:10 AM

      Also true, but that is kind of part of the expenses, although if you want to be frugal you can cut out that cost too.


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