SBJ Unpacks: How Youth Sports Is Weathering COVID-19
Earlier this week, a coalition of over 400 youth sports organizations requested more than $8.5B in federal emergency aid. On the most recent episode of “SBJ Unpacks - Weathering COVID-19,” our Bill King is joined by Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Olympic Gold Medalist and CEO of Laureus Sport for Good Foundation USA, and Jeremy Goldberg, President of LeagueApps. They talk about the changes that were already taking place in youth sports before the coronavirus pandemic, and how COVID-19 has created an even more complex situation.
On the argument that youth sports should be a lower priority for congress than other industries:
Fitzgerald Mosley: We’re an economic engine within this economy much like these other small businesses, and we just want to make that very apparent to congress. (Youth sports organizations) are suffering as much as anybody else.” Goldberg: “With all due respect to the restaurants, bars, hotels and airlines and all these other critical industries that have an important role to play in the economy, we just can’t lose sight of what youth sports represents for our community and for our kids. Not to mention the fact that there are a lot of jobs at stake as well.
On why current federal aid has not been effective in assisting youth sports organizations:
Goldberg: The structure of the assistance that existed wasn’t really accessible by most of these youth sports organizations. Whether the complexity of the process, whether the structure of a lot of volunteers or 1099 workers who weren’t really eligible to apply because the coach has to apply directly, whether it was the nature of some of those expenses that were covered that didn’t really reflect youth sports, there were gaps with respect to both the advocacy and the assistance that was being offered.
On the structure of many small organizations supported by Laureus USA and the struggle they face:
Fitzgerald Mosley: Many are very localized, hyper localized in fact. They’re small. They have three employees, part time coaches. That have a $300,000 budget. They’ve been around 3, 5, 10 years at the most. They’re fledgling; they’re living month to month, and some of them have been receiving fees from schools to support after school programming that’s focused on the kids at that school that need access. Those fees dried up when school was cancelled or suspended. So that revenue stream has gone away.