Thursday, April 14, 2016

How the cost of a Long Beach youth soccer league has soared

In Long Beach, California, well over a thousand children participate in the soccer league run each fall by Region 177 of the Fox Sports American Youth Soccer Organization.

AYSO 177 is an all-volunteer operation, and in the past that has allowed the group to keep registration costs low. But the price to play in this league has dramatically risen in the last decade.

In 2005, parents could register their child for AYSO 177's fall league for as little as $70. Even if they missed the early registration discounts, parents could still register for a maximum of $85. (See below)

But in 2016, the fees have jumped to $130 minimum and a $170 maximum.

Part of the increase, of course, can be attributed to inflation. But not all of it.

Here's the math: The 2005 minimum/maximum become $85 and $103 when converted to 2016 dollars. That means that AYSO 177 has raised its minimum price ($85 to $130) by 52% and its maximum ($103 to $170) by 65% over and above inflation.

Again, AYSO 177 is an all-volunteer organization, so it's not paying coaches or administrators. Its main costs are field rentals and uniforms. What else is the group spending money on? For the past six years, it has been paying for an annual dinner at the Old Ranch Country Club in Los Alamitos that features a buffet dinner and a raffle with prizes of sports gear and electronics. The dinner is open to board members and many volunteers, but most parents in AYSO 177 are not even aware of it.

A year ago, AYSO made a deal with Fox Sports to place advertising for the broadcaster on the uniforms worn by all the children playing in the organization. AYSO never announced how the money from that deal would be spent, but apparently it's not being used to keep registration costs down. 

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