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Afternoon Shift

'The Most Expensive Game in Town': A look at the rising cost of youth sports

(Flickr/Erica Hampton)

Kids cost a pretty penny these days. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs a middle-income, two-parent family $226,920, on average, to raise a child from birth to age 18—that’s almost 14 grand every year! That figure primarily accounts for general expenses like food, shelter, health and child care, transportation and education. The price tag for parents of the nearly 50 million kids who play organized sports each year is even steeper.

Listen to Lester Munson and Mark Hyman on the Afternoon Shift



In his new book, The Most Expensive Game in Town: The Rising Cost of Youth Sports and the Toll on Today's Families, sports journalist Mark Hyman examines the cost of youth sports—from uniforms to equipment, league fees, travel, tournament fees and clinics. In the book, he tells the story of one father of three, Fran Dicari, who blogs about his expenses under the moniker “Stats Dad.” Last year, Dicari spent over $11,000 on league fees, physical therapy, personal coaches, AAU fees, baseball cleats, basketball sneakers, turf cleats, golf shoes, baseball gloves, golf gloves, airline tickets, shirts, shorts and oh so much more.

Hometown hockey hero and current color commentator for the Chicago Blackhawks Eddie Olczyk also recognized the rising cost of recreation. And so the Chicago Blackhawks and the Blackhawks Charities created The Eddie Olczyk Award to support young hockey players and teams in Illinois who may not have the means to play at a competitive level. Olczyk joined Hyman, senior writer Lester Munson and Steve Edwards on The Afternoon Shift to discuss the high price of play.


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