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What Are the Different Types of Sports Funding?

By Keith Koons
Updated May 23, 2024
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There are many different types of sports funding available to youth and recreational teams. Sponsorships from local businesses are one of the most prominent methods of youth sports funding; many corporations seek this type of partnership for both tax purposes and public relations. Some rural areas may also have grants available for sports funding in order to build new practice fields or team buses. Many teams also have fundraisers to cover additional expenses like uniforms, rental fees, and playoff trips.

Most of the sports funding for non-professional teams comes from various forms of businesses in the way of donations. A corporate entity is often more than willing to donate the cost of uniforms and travel in exchange for free advertising at the sports complex. In fact, this type of donation often pays for itself by increasing exposure of the brand or product that the company sells, which is why so many large retailers favor sponsorships.

When seeking sports funding from local area businesses, many team managers and coaches send out sponsorship letters several months before the season actually begins. These solicitations may ask for direct contributions or a cross-promotion where the team will advertise the business's products. Some sponsorships may also be exclusive within certain industries as well. For example, a restaurant may agree to donate resources if a team promises not to promote a local competitor.

Another popular method of sports funding is holding fundraisers. Many youth and school sports funding organizations use car washes, bake sales, raffle tickets, and other types of direct sales to gain money for the team. Some organizations may also choose to charge admission for home games and set up a concession stand with snacks from local vendors in order to raise additional funding. These types of sports funding are normally organized by a parents' association in order to offset the direct costs of including their children on the team.

If all other forms of sports funding fail, teams can also impose a direct charge on each player to cover the costs of the season. Many leagues have an upfront charge in order for a team to register within it, and this money is used primarily for upkeep, sporting equipment, and administrative fees. Tournament play is another example of direct funding; these costs are usually paid directly out of pocket by the athlete in order to compete. Some leagues even offer payment plans in order to reduce the burden of upfront costs to the players.

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Discussion Comments

By cardsfan27 — On Mar 13, 2012

@TreeMan - I know what you mean. High school sports teams work just like sports teams do in colleges. The money goes toward whatever the public wants to see.

I agree that there should be some sports funding in schools. Especially in high school, it is one of the few things that can bring in money for the school. The unfortunate part is that most of that money goes right back into the sports fund instead of being put toward things that will actually benefit the majority of students who want to need to have successful careers.

Let's face it, the vast majority of high school students won't play professionally or even at the collegiate level, but everyone going through the system needs to be able to have the skills to get a good job. I'm not against sports, I just think the funds need to be distributed toward the things that will have the most impact on the students.

By TreeMan — On Mar 12, 2012

When I was in school, I know there was a lot of different funding for sports teams. I think the school board always allotted a certain amount from their budget each year to pay for new uniforms for certain teams. We also had booster clubs that held various types of fundraisers to generate money to support the teams.

As you would probably expect, the teams that were more successful always got the most money. The football and softball teams were always good, and it seemed like every year they got several hundred dollars to buy new equipment. Meanwhile, I played baseball, and we were mediocre at best, and it seemed like we never got anything new.

It is kind of unfortunate for the rest of the school, though. There were thousands of dollars spent on new uniforms every year when the old ones were still fine. Meanwhile, the school libraries and classrooms were always in need of equipment.

By JimmyT — On Mar 12, 2012

@ZsaZsa56 - At least in the state where I grew up, there were laws against businesses being able to have sponsorships on jerseys and equipment. They could pay for advertisements around the fields and sponsor raffles and concessions and things like that, but nothing that the players actually wore. I guess it could be different in every state, though.

Whenever I was in little league sports that weren't associated with the school, though, sponsorships were a big deal. I know most companies would pay for the cost of the uniforms and some of the equipment for the right to have their name printed on the jerseys. All in all, it had to have cost several hundred dollars.

By matthewc23 — On Mar 11, 2012

@Ivan83 - I don't think I have ever heard of a case where a city used additional funds to build a stadium without putting it to a vote first. It happens in almost every case with a professional sports team. The city will decide they need a new stadium, so they will often come up with an amount paid by the team owners as well as some other sponsors, but then the rest of the cost goes to the general public.

Whenever the next election comes around, they will add a referendum, or whatever the equivalent is for that city, and ask the public whether or not they are willing to pay a certain amount extra in property tax or city tax to pay for the stadium. The same thing usually happens with new schools and any other public facility.

The idea behind it is that the city should benefit in the long run by the additional income generated, plus the citizens get an additional form of recreation.

By whiteplane — On Mar 11, 2012

Are there an equal number of scholarships given to male and female collegiate athletes? I know that title nine did a lot to even the field between genders in college athletics but it just seems like there are so many more male athletes than females. Do they have the same scholarship opportunities?

By ZsaZsa56 — On Mar 10, 2012
My high school football team used to have the name of a local insurance agency printed on the back of the jerseys. The insurance agency put up the money for our jerseys and pads in exchange for their name being printed big enough for everyone to see. I don't know how common this is in high school sports funding but several of the other local high schools did it to.
By Ivan83 — On Mar 10, 2012

I have always wondered how it works out that the tax payer often kicks in part or even all of the funds that are used to build stadiums for major sports teams. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars that comes out of my pocket and your to subsidize private industries that reap huge profits. How can this happen. Why is there not and outrage?

Can anyone explain this to me? How did the idea get started in the first place and and why does it vary so widely between cities?

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