Youth Travel Baseball: How Much Does It Really Cost Parents?

It’s all about preparation and knowing what you’re getting into. Not just financially, but your time. Youth travel baseball is a business. Big business. Just look at the tournaments these kids play in. Do the math between the tournament fees, gate/parking fees, concession revenues, minus field rental, food costs, insurance, and some marketing. It’s no wonder that many tournament directors are working this gig as their full-time job. I’ve heard some boast that they are making $20,000 per tournament in their pocket.

Then you look at the bat manufacturers. All clamoring for shelf-space. Who has the best technology that will allow their little Johnny to hit dingers? No matter how bad his mechanics are. As of this post, the 2018 DeMarini CF Zen retails for $349.95. Ridiculous. And what about the uniforms? They’re better than most MLB teams. Plus a team now has uniform sets for home, away, alternate, alternate to the alternate, patriotic holiday, breast cancer awareness, and then some. Each set can be $150 easy.

You basically have five years of youth travel baseball: 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, and 12U. Some people start at 7U but I don’t see much value in spending the money for 7U baseball. In Florida, the travelball players will have both a fall season and a spring season which brings the total number of seasons in youth travel baseball to ten. You’ll need to cash flow the costs or be prepared to come out of pocket from savings. I’ll focus on one year at a time.

8U Travel Ball: $2,150

Fall 8u: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $1,345

    • $150 Travel Ball Uniforms
    • $160 Umpires
    • $240 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $150 Bat
    • $100 Glove
    • $ 50 Helmet with Logo
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $ 75 Equipment Bag with Logo
    • $ 15 Batting Gloves
    • $200 Fuel Car
    • $125 Hotel (1 night)

Spring 8u: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $805

    • $160 Umpires
    • $240 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $200 Fuel Car
    • $125 Hotel (1 night)

The big caveat is that the above numbers assume that seven tournaments are local area (within 50 miles) and one out of area tournament. Disclaimer: Some teams may decide to play more tournaments. Some may play more out of area. And some organizations may have an additional fee if they have experienced trainers or coaches (former pros) that help out on the side. Make sure you know what his team is planning to do in advance because in some instances the total cost above could be double.

9U and 10U Travel Ball: $2,700 each year for $5,400 total

There’s not much difference between 9U and 10U so I assumed each year was identical.

Fall 9U and 10U: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $1,720 each season

    • $200 Travel Ball Uniforms
    • $160 Umpires
    • $240 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $250 Bat
    • $150 Glove
    • $ 50 Helmet with Logo
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $ 75 Equipment Bag with Logo
    • $ 15 Batting Gloves
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)

Spring 9U and 10U: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $980 each season

    • $160 Umpires
    • $240 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)

The above numbers for each season assumes that six tournaments are local area (within 50 miles) and two are out of area tournaments. Disclaimer: Some teams may decide to play more tournaments. Some may play more out of area. And some organizations may have an additional fee if they have experienced trainers or coaches (former pros) that help out on the side. Make sure you know what his team is planning to do in advance because in some instances the total cost above could be double.

11U Travel Ball w/Cal Ripken Experience: $5,120

Fall 11U: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $1,880

    • $250 Travel Ball Uniforms
    • $160 Umpires
    • $300 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $300 Bat
    • $150 Glove
    • $ 50 Helmet with Logo
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $ 75 Equipment Bag with Logo
    • $ 15 Batting Gloves
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)

Spring 11U: Nine (9) Tournament Season: $3,240

    • $160 Umpires
    • $300 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)
    • $600 Cal Ripken Tournament Dues (Myrtle Beach)
    • $700 Cal Ripken Tournament Hotel
    • $700 Cal Ripken Tournament Food
    • $200 Cal Ripken Tournament Fuel Car

The above numbers for each season assumes that six tournaments are local area (within 50 miles), two are out of area tournaments, and the extra tournament in the spring is a major week-long tournament to round out the season. Disclaimer: Some teams may decide to play more tournaments. Some may play more out of area. And some organizations may have an additional fee if they have experienced trainers or coaches (former pros) that help out on the side. Make sure you know what his team is planning to do in advance because in some instances the total cost above could be double.

12U Travel Ball w/Cooperstown Dreamspark: $7,320

Fall 12U: Eight (8) Tournament Season: $1,880

    • $250 Travel Ball Uniforms
    • $160 Umpires
    • $300 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $300 Bat
    • $150 Glove
    • $ 50 Helmet with Logo
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $ 75 Equipment Bag with Logo
    • $ 15 Batting Gloves
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)

Spring 12U: Nine (9) Tournament Season: $5,440

    • $160 Umpires
    • $300 Tournament Entry Fees
    • $ 80 Parking/Gate Fees
    • $250 Fuel Car
    • $250 Hotel (2 night)
    • $900 Cooperstown Dreamspark Dues
    • $700 Cooperstown Tournament Hotel
    • $700 Cooperstown Tournament Food
    • $200 Cooperstown Tournament Fuel Car
    • $500 Cooperstown Tournament Rental Car
    • $1,400 Cooperstown Tournament Air Fare for family of four.

The above numbers for each season assumes that six tournaments are local area (within 50 miles), two are out of area tournaments, and the extra tournament in the spring is actually played in the summer and is the last highlight of youth travel baseball. Cooperstown Dreamspark. This is a major week-long tournament to round out the small field experience. It is a phenomenal experience for your player. Do not miss it. Disclaimer: Some teams may decide to play more tournaments. Some may play more out of area. And some organizations may have an additional fee if they have experienced trainers or coaches (former pros) that help out on the side. Make sure you know what his team is planning to do in advance because in some instances the total cost above could be much more.

So there you have it. Hopefully this will help you anticipate what your financial commitment might be as your player progresses from one travel season to the next. All in, it’s about $20,000 for the five years. Of course, this is just a ball park and depends heavily on what your team actually does. It does NOT include any extra training sessions that you might pay for on your own for hitting, pitching, fielding, and strength/conditioning. This is certainly an expense that you need to budget for. On average, these guys charge $1 per minute of training. If you just did one hour per week during a four-month season, that’s another $1,000 each season. If you started with the extra training at 10U, then you can add $6,000 to the overall total.

Author: Baseball Pops

No doubt it was a dream come true for my oldest son when he received his first D1 Baseball scholarship offer. But it also reminded me of the incredible journey up to that point where we had no instruction manual, DIY book, or expert to lean on for guidance. This blog is written from a parent's perspective for the benefit of parents. If it can help just one parent see things clearer so they can make more meaningful decisions in helping their player achieve their baseball dreams, then this blog will have accomplished its mission in my eyes.

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