TeamSnap: How to Score Big with Youth Sports Parents | ANA


How to Score Big with Youth Sports Parents

What marketers can learn from the brands winning over the parents of young athletes

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Parents of young athletes are often actively engaged in coaching, carpool duties, snack prep, and cheering for their children from the sidelines. And perhaps as much as they want to see their children win, they also care about scoring the best deals. Particularly for that reason they are a demographic not to be ignored.

Youth sports parents are truly the all-star consumer audience. In its "Project Play" initiative, the Aspen Institute estimates that U.S. families spend $30 billion to $40 billion annually on their children's sports activities, from the costs of sports equipment to more or better coaching to travel.

TeamSnap for Brands has conducted extensive research on the spending habits of youth sports parents. In 2023, TeamSnap surveyed more than 1,000 parents for the "Parents As Consumers Report," and in 2024 released the report "Youth Sports Parents' Picks: Shopping and Dining Brands" report for a deeper analysis of the specific brands that youth sports parents are choosing and what goes into those purchasing decisions.

For Parents, Price Is Paramount

The cost of youth sports is constantly rising. According to the Aspen Institute, the average youth sports parent in 2022 spent $833 on one child's primary sport per season. In TeamSnap's 2023 "Parents As Consumers Report," 46 percent of surveyed parents reported spending more than $1,000 annually on youth sports. The costs, including registration fees, gear, travel, and team obligations, can add up quickly. This makes price a critical factor in decision-making.

In fact, according to TeamSnap's 2024 "Youth Sports Parents' Picks" report, youth sports parents overwhelmingly indicate that price has the strongest influence on family purchasing decisions. This aligns with the results of the "Parents As Consumers Report," which found that 42 percent of parents prefer shopping at big-box stores due to their competitive pricing.

TeamSnap data shows youth sports parents are looking for brands that are cost effective. When it comes to snack preferences and choosing the right half-time crunch or post-game pick-me-up, the parents TeamSnap surveyed say they would choose price over quality. Fifty-two percent of parents opt to dine at restaurants where they can enjoy cost-effective meals, and 24 percent of parents choose snack brands specifically because they fit their budget.

Often the most cost-effective brand option for parents is also the most convenient. In its "Youth Sports Parents' Picks" report, TeamSnap found that 43 percent of parents adjust their meals based on youth sports events and 36 percent make their vacation plans around youth sports.

Meals aren't just dictated by a kid's cravings but by their youth sports schedule.

Brand Favoritism Varies Greatly By Category

According to TeamSnap's 2024 "Youth Sports Parents' Picks" report, parents demonstrated a lack of brand loyalty in their choices of where and what to eat. Though Nature Valley, Clif Bar, and Pepperidge Farm topped the list of favorite snack brands, a whopping 21 percent of respondents claimed they have no first-choice snack brand. Chick-fil-A emerged the first choice restaurant for youth sports families, but 23 percent of respondents chose a restaurant that received five or fewer top-choice votes, indicating that brand favoritism is widely distributed across the category.

However, when it comes to beverages, retailers, and household cleaning brands, respondents had clear favorites. Clorox received the most top-choice selections across all youth sports parent segments, regardless of age or reason for purchase. Youth sports parents across all ages chose Walmart as their first-choice retailer but more frequently included Amazon in their group of "go-to" retailers. Gatorade was the clear winner in the beverage category, receiving a vote as a top pick from 28 percent of respondents, while BodyArmor followed in second place, receiving only 5 percent of votes.

Strategies for Marketers

For marketers looking to reach parents more effectively, TeamSnap's data suggests prioritizing opportunities to reach them in their most engaged moments, whether that is in the context of youth sports or other precious family activities.

The varied brand favoritism across categories indicates that parents make nuanced choices based on context and need. Marketers can gain an edge by identifying and targeting these "micro-moments" — times when parents make specific decisions influenced by their circumstances, such as choosing a quick meal between games or picking up supplies on the way to a tournament. Brands that effectively communicate their advantages in these moments — through timely advertising, mobile marketing, or location-based promotions — can significantly increase their visibility and relevance.

Despite a general lack of brand loyalty, certain brands, such as Walmart, Gatorade, and Clorox, stand out as favorites among youth sports parents. Analyzing what these brands are doing right can provide valuable lessons. For example, Walmart is often associated with wide product selection and affordability — qualities that are highly valued by budget-conscious sports parents. Marketers should consider how their brands can similarly align with the values and day-to-day realities of this demographic.

Lastly, given the paramount importance of price in the purchasing decisions of youth sports parents, marketers should focus on promotional strategies that establish their brands as budget-friendly and attentive to parents' lifestyle demands. This could include bulk purchasing options, loyalty programs, or special offers tied to sports seasons, such as discounts during back-to-school time or the beginning of the next sports season.

When a product can display its reliability, value, and add to the quality of a busy parents' lives, that brand will score big.

TeamSnap is a partner in the ANA Thought Leadership Program.


Nicole McCormack

Nicole McCormack is the SVP and GM of brand solutions at TeamSnap. Nicole and her team drive growth by leveraging TeamSnap’s position as the largest distribution channel for youth sports parents, offering sponsorship opportunities that impact the lives of millions of youth athletes each year and providing funding to thousands of youth sports organizations. You can email Nicole at

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