Jun 25, 2022 - Economy

Following the other big money in sports

Illustration of a pennant made out of a hundred dollar bill. 

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Record-breaking team sales and player contracts get most of the headlines. Less discussed is all the money sloshing around the rest of the sports industry — from season ticket-holders to weekend golfers.

State of play: Sports fans and participants continue to spend big money to follow their favorite leagues, watch their favorite teams and enjoy their favorite pastimes.

Apparel: The global sports and fitness clothing market is expected to reach $221.3 billion by 2026 (up 29% from 2020). Among the biggest drivers is e-commerce giant Fanatics, the sixth-most valuable private company in the U.S. at $27 billion.

Game outings: It cost a family of four $568.18 to attend an NFL game last year, followed by the NHL ($462.58), NBA ($444.12) and MLB ($256.41). That's based on Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, which counts tickets, food, merchandise and parking.

Betting: Americans have legally wagered nearly $135 billion on sports since the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in 2018. New Yorkers alone have bet nearly $8 billion since January, when mobile betting was legalized.

Streaming: Live games are the only reason many sports fans pay for cable — and it isn’t cheap. Streaming services add up, too, and fans increasingly need more subscriptions to follow the action.

Youth sports: Parents spend upwards of $20,000 annually on travel, league fees, camps and equipment as the $17 billion industry continues to balloon — and price some families out.

Community: Golf's popularity has soared since 2020, and memberships can cost upwards of $100,000 thanks to huge initiation fees. Community can also be found via subscriptions to Peloton ($44/month), ClassPass ($19-$199/month) and Planet Fitness ($10/month).

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