More than 400 youth sports organizations have formed a coalition that will lobby Congress for at least $8.5 billion to assist community organizations that are not helped by the CARES Act. The PLAY Sports (Promoting Local and Youth Sports) Coalition is designed to assist youth sports organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond as the youth sports market faces mounting losses during the crisis.
According to a recent poll shared by the Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative, nearly 60 percent of local sports leaders said their organizations will project to lose at least 50 percent of their revenue over the next year due to COVID-19. PLAY Sports will lobby for help for sports-based youth development programs, including those serving at-risk youth from under-resourced communities, as well as venues and employees and contractors who make sports possible. The group is seeking priority consideration in the disbursement of any money to programs supporting under-served communities, including girls and youth with disabilities.
PLAY Sports is also seeking reimbursement for organizations’ lost expenses, including camps and clinics, funding for employee and contractual-related expenses needed to continue operations beyond the allowable period of the CARES Act, and competition and event cancellations that are non-refundable or insurable.
In addition to asking for financial support, the group has called on Congress to form a youth sports COVID-19 Task Force.
The coalition is being led by a volunteer steering committee of representatives, including Wayne Moss (National Council of Youth Sports), Benita Fitzgerald Mosley (Laureus Sport for Good USA), Jon Butler (Pop Warner), Jeremy Goldberg (LeagueApps), Keri King (Triple Crown Sports) and Luke Zaientz (Reigning Champs). Active Policy Solutions, led by Terri Lakowski, will serve as a special advisor to the Coalition and its Steering Committee.
“Members of the National Council of Youth Sports represent some of the most influential organizations in the youth sports sector,” said Moss. “The NCYS membership collectively constitutes some 60 million registered participants in organized youth sports programs. Given our commitment to access to play, safe play, healthy play and quality play, we are excited to help broaden the youth sports coalition and collectively focus on helping youth sports organizations through these difficult times.”
“Many of our local Pop Warner programs will be severely challenged to field teams this year due to the economic crisis with the pandemic,” said Butler. “Thousands of our young athletes may lose the chance to participate in a healthy, structured team sports environment. For many of them, playing Pop Warner football or cheering in Pop Warner is one of the few times they will have that opportunity. We would hate for them to lose that chance.”