The real cost of sporting success to parents
Bringing up the next Lewis Hamilton or Andy Murray could cost parents an average of £27,000, a new survey has found.
Club subscriptions, new kit, ferrying them to and from competitions and equipment means parents of sporty children who are members of organised clubs will have to cough up £26,932.96 in their teenage years alone.
But the cost can rocket depending on what sport the child excels at – golf for example will set parents back a staggering £55,420 because of hefty petrol costs driving long distances to tournaments.
And go-karting enthusiasts eager to follow in the footsteps of Lewis Hamilton will cost parents £5,072 a year which totals over £40,000 between the ages of 11-18.
The study by pub restaurant chain Chef & Brewer polled 2,000 parents of children that took part in organised sport at least three times a week.
Six in ten parents said they would hate to stand in the way of their child and their chance to excel at sport regardless of how much it cost.
But a more cautious 27 per cent said it was impossible for their offspring to attend every club meeting and competition due to money and logistics.
Taking their kids to clubs, competitions and training will set the typical parent back £50 a week with one in ten parents regularly driving more than 75 miles to regional and county matches.
Elaine Petch, mother of Olympic medal-winning gymnast Louis Smith, knows just what it takes to bring up a sporting star after travelling over 250 miles each week to take Louis to training throughout his teenage years.
Elaine, who is supporting Chef & Brewer’s Champion of Champions campaign to reward those who dedicate their lives to support future sporting talent, said: “Most parents fully get behind their children when it comes to sport – for a variety of reasons.
“The obvious reason is that it keeps children fit and healthy, but secondly children who take part in team sports tend to have a wider circle of friends.
“I made the effort to take Louis to a gym 26 miles from home and was paying up to £100 each week on petrol because I knew it would give him a better chance of success. But as a parent you just get on and do it for your children.
“The cost isn’t the only aspect to consider, many of these parents will work full time and after a days work will have to pick kids up and drop them off at sports clubs. If you are doing this several times a week it will take its toll.”
A quarter of Mums and Dads said they would never refuse to take their kids to an activity that they wanted to attend.
Despite football being the most popular sport for British kids to play it was also one of the cheapest.
After petrol to and from competitions, new kit, membership fees and extra tuition the parent of a footballer can expect to pay £2,598 a year or £20,787 from the ages of 11-18.
Ballet and dancing enthusiasts will pay less than £20,000.
A Chef & Brewer spokeswoman added: “Parents are investing lots of their spare time and their income on their children’s chosen sports. These findings were based on one child and the sport that they have chosen to pursue, and don’t include any school sports of PE kits.
“We have to spare a thought for the parents of children who take part in more than one organised sport and for those that have two, three or four sporty children.
“Sport clearly dominates time in the week for a lot of families but it’s still important to make time for family occasions. We often went for a hearty meal together after training and we still make time for a family pub lunch most Sundays when we can.”
Researchers found that the typical sporting child takes part in nearly seven hours of sport a week and parents will spend £197 on membership fees alone for their kids.
And it’s mums who bear the brunt of the picking up and dropping off. But the waiting around for kids to compete in their chosen sports means parents hang around for nearly four hours a week.
Not surprisingly 41 per cent of the 2,000 parents polled said they sometimes feel like their whole life is dedicated to their kid’s hobbies.
Despite that – three quarters of parents said they would rather their child played sport than being cooped up indoors watching TV.
Most Common Sports
3. Martial arts
5. Ballet / dance
Most Expensive Sports
1. Golf £55,420
2. Go Karting £40,580
3. Tennis £36,805
4. Swimming £34,232
5. Netball £32,447
6. Rugby £29,429
7. Horse Rising £27,047
8. Gymnastics £21,493
9. Football £20,787
10. Ballet £18,907
*cost is based on children aged 11-18 who play sport at least 3 times per week through organised clubs.