A new study has revealed the rising costs faced by parents who are looking to get their children into a new sport.
The research, carried out by Sports Direct, found that the average first year cost for parents is £274, including membership fees and shockingly high equipment costs, with parents needing to pay an average of £146 in the first year on everything from football boots to cricket bats or golf clubs.
With nearly nine in ten (86%) 5-15 year olds participating in physical activity, it’s clear that sports are an important part of childhood. But which sports carry the highest financial burdens for parents?
Taking the top spot is cricket, the UK’s second most popular sport, with a total start-up cost of £419. Cricket has been in the spotlight for a number of years, facing criticism that the cost involved with participation is pricing kids out of the sport. Parents will need to purchase products such as cricket bats and protective pads, meaning that the sport has the most expensive equipment cost of £269, and membership fees of £150.
Some of the UK’s most popular sports, rugby (4th) and football (5th), also rank within the top five, with equipment costs of £188 and £184 respectively, and training costs of £150. Parents of aspiring rugby players and footballers will need to purchase equipment such as football and rugby boots, as well as protective equipment including shin pads and mouthguards.
In positive news for parents, at the opposite end of the scale, costing £131 on average, the cheapest sport for children also happens to be the most popular sport for 5-10 year olds, swimming.
The research also examined access to sports clubs and facilities around the UK, to reveal the cities with the best and worst access to sport in the country. With 110 sports clubs, and 44 clubs per 100,000 people, Wolverhampton is the city best served by sporting facilities. Meanwhile, despite having the most sports clubs in total (238), London has the lowest access to facilities in the country, with only 3 per 100,000 Londoners.
Despite the importance of sport however, due to the cost of living crisis, many parents face the difficult decision of whether or not they can continue to afford to pay for their child to take part in extra curricular sports and activities.
To help address this problem, Sports Direct has launched an initiative to help cut down on the cost involved with children’s sports.
With equipment costs making up a large part of the initial cost parents face getting their children involved in sports, Sports Direct is launching an indefinite discount scheme, offering savings of up to 70% across a range of core products for multiple sports.
The discount scheme will be available for all parents, meaning that parents will be able to save money keeping their child in a sport, as well as getting started with a new one.
A Spokesperson for Sports Direct, said, “Sport is a vital part of childhood development, with benefits for both mental and physical health, as well as their confidence and social skills. However, due to the cost of living crisis, many parents across the country may find themselves unable to afford to continue to pay for their child to participate in sport.
“As one of the biggest costs associated with kids’ sports is the cost of purchasing new equipment, we’re pleased to launch our discount scheme to help take some of the financial burden off parents.
“So whether your child needs a new set of golf clubs, or they’ve outgrown their old pair of adidas boots, we hope that this initiative goes some way towards helping keep them playing the sports they love.”