Youth sports funding pursuit gets Congressional boost

The PLAY Sports Coalition, a newly formed US advocacy group seeking to advance the goals of the youth sports industry, has received key legislative support for a $8.5bn federal funding request from all four co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Youth Sports.

Four Capitol Hill leaders – Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota Republican; Rodney Davis, Illinois Republican; Ron Kind, Wisconsin Democrat; and Marc Veasey, Texas Democrat – have each joined a Congressional sign-on letter supporting the newly formed coalition.

The coalition’s first key initiative is securing the $8.5bn economic stabilization fund that will be used to save economically challenged and volunteer-driven youth sports organizations, reimburse operators of youth sports camps and clinics for lost expenses, and create a new sports recovery program, among other similar initiatives.

The sign-on letter is now being circulated to other Congress members in pursuit of their support. The early support from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers has been a crucial step in keeping the youth sports funding request from becoming a divisive partisan issue.

“Unfortunately, these unprecedented times have greatly impacted the youth sports industry, leaving many of these non-profits and small businesses on the brink of permanent closures,” Veasey said. “That is why I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort to call for funding that will help stabilize and support the youth sports sector.”

Though most youth sports organizations are quite small and operate on a strictly local level, the economic stakes are still significant as the the entire sector adds up to a more than $19bn industry just in the US. 

The coalition itself, its name standing for Promoting Local And Youth Sports, has more than doubled in size just in the last two weeks. After initially forming with 400 leaders from across the US youth sports landscape, that member number has now surpassed 1,000.