The rising cost of sports weighs heavy on student pockets

Molly Liebergall

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Although high school sports are typically played for fun, the Nike cleats and Adidas knee pads come with a price.

Over the past decade, the money spent by the American public on sports gear has increased by more than $10 billion, according to Statista Inc., and Staples athletes have felt the financial hit whenever they purchase equipment.

“At first I was shocked, like, ‘Wow, it’s so expensive,’ ” golfer Leah Patterson ’16 said. In fact, golf ranks as one of the most expensive sports, but Patterson believes she gets her money’s worth.
“The golf products last,” she said. “My mom bought shoes when she was 20, and they still work.”

High up on the pricey sports list is football, which requires a $100 to $200 helmet, a $15 mouth guard, $35 gloves, $130 cleats and padding costing as much as $200.

Luckily for the players, Staples provides most of the equipment. “Buying gear costs a lot of money, but we get it reconditioned so we don’t buy new gear every year,” football player Ryan Fitton ’17 said.

Although football reuses their equipment, the girls’ basketball team purchases new matching sneakers every year. These shoes are optional, but most players buy them to show camaraderie on the court.

This year, the team shoes are blue and navy Hyperdunks, which Nike sells for $140, but are purchased by the team at a discount. Basketball player Amanda Troelstra ’18 is happy with the quality of her new kicks, but she finds the price unsettling.

“You wear them for the winter and then your feet grow,” Troelstra said. “It’s too expensive for a one-season sport.”

Aside from equipment, some players also need to pay for practice. The SoNo Ice House offers a youth fall and winter hockey league for $875 – gear not included.

Equipped head to toe with purchased hockey padding, a helmet, skates and a stick, hockey players cough up as much as $2000 for their sport.
As American consumer purchases of sporting goods is pegged at roughly $63 billion, parents and athletes continue to grapple with the rising cost for sporting equipment.

However, it is hard to put a price on safety.
“I’d rather pay and not get a puck to the face every time,” hockey player Sebastien Zeman ’17 said, referring to the safety of his helmet. “You can’t play hockey without the pads.”

In fact, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s (SGMA) Sports Marketing Surveys, higher-grade safety equipment should and will always overshadow price.

“It needs to be expensive so it can be safe,” Zeman said. “Bottom line.”