April 23, 2020
More than 400 leaders representing youth sports organizations across the U.S. have come together to form PLAY Sports. The group will advocate for a unified approach to finding a safe and effective strategy for the return of youth sports across the U.S.
PLAY Sports, which stands for Promoting Local and Youth Sports, has already submitted letters to members of the U.S. Senate and Congress asking for an $8.5 billion stimulus package to aid institutions working in the youth sports sector. The coalition also asked Congress to create a dedicated COVID-19 task force for supporting youth sports. Letters were delivered on Monday to senators Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The $8.5 billion fund would be used for purposes such as reimbursing operators of youth camps and clinics affected by the shutdown, covering expenses related to event cancellations, and paying employees across the youth sports industry. A recent poll from the Aspen Institute Project Play Initiative found that nearly 60% of local sports leaders said their organizations project to lose at least 50% of revenue over the next year due to hardships caused by COVID-19.
Executives from prominent youth sports organizations such as Pop Warner, the National Council on Youth Sports, Little League Baseball, and the Babe Ruth League are all part of the foundation. PLAY Sports is also backed by Reigning Champs, which organizes the NFL’s youth flag football program, as well as LeagueApps, an online team management platform that previously received investment from Major League Baseball.
“Our data tells the story—sports organizations are being severely impacted by the pause in play. PLAY Sports is about elevating the voices of grassroots leaders, to ensure their survival, and to support how all athletes and families return to play,” Jeremy Goldberg, president of LeagueApps, said in a statement.