If you have a child who plays sports, you probably know how quickly your entire week can start to revolve around practice, carpool, and game schedule. If your child plays on a travel team, it’s even more time consuming; think tournaments, mandatory practices and film sessions – the list goes on.
In this article, we will give marketers an insight into the week of a youth sports family; from spending habits, to the decision-making process, and the emotions of wins and losses. In an effort to get a first-hand perspective, TeamSnap interviewed a youth sport parent, George Paul, who is the father of two athletes. His youngest daughter, Naomi, is a competitive soccer player who juggles club soccer, Olympic Development duties, and guest player roles on top clubs in the New York area. His eldest daughter, Anwen, competes in archery.
We asked George to run us through a week in his life. Keep in mind that every youth sports family has their own unique schedule and game plan, but for marketers looking to gain insight into where parents’ purchasing power stems from, you will learn quickly that youth sports are a driving force for families.
A Typical Monday
When Monday morning comes around for George and his family, it’s immediately off to the races. Monday morning means getting up and out the door by 7:15 a.m. This allows him the time to make two trips to school drop-off in different parts of New York City. George spends over an hour every morning just getting the girls to school.
Youth Sports Parents Fact: 36% of youth sports parents are more likely to say they are very likely to buy a vehicle in the next 6 months
Once the kids are dropped off at school, George is juggling work as well as parent-manager duties for Naomi’s soccer team. That means many phone calls during the day while on-the-go, sending out rosters to coaches, and then making sure he’s back in Brooklyn to pick up Naomi at 3:15.
“On Mondays I’ll pick up my daughter at 3:15 and drive 2.5 hours and sometimes more to soccer practice,” George says. “We will grab a little bite to eat before her 1.5 hour practice in Long Island.”
They usually stop by Starbucks and grab a bar or slice of banana bread to munch on before the practice. Post practice, they’ll swing by Chipotle with the rest of the Long Island soccer community.
Youth Sports Parents Fact: 43% of youth sports parents adjust their meals based on youth sports.
“After we grab food we are back on the road for another 1.5 hours to get back to Brooklyn. Once we get home I’ll have her get back to her homework.”
Tuesday can look very similar at the beginning of the day for George and his family. It’s up early and out of the house. He tells us they sometimes pack food for the day for the kids, but other days it’s just grabbing quick, convenient and healthy food on-the-go.
“On Tuesdays I once again pick her up from school and make sure she gets her homework done before we need to hit the road again for another practice. I then drive her to another practice that’s about an hour away. After I drop her off at practice for a 1.5 hour practice, I go and pick my other daughter up from school and drop her at archery practice.”
This is a double-duty sports parent type of night, so the chances of a late dinner or grab-n-go option is a good chance this day of the week.
Youth Sports Parents Fact: 52% of parents choose quick service restaurants (QSR) because it is fast. Not surprising, as busy parents are more often looking for something fast to fuel up while on-the-go.
Wednesdays are consistent with the rest of the week. George’s schedule revolves around dropping his kids off, picking them up, dropping them off at practice, picking them up at practice, and commuting home. He mentions that on Wednesdays his eldest daughter has two practices back-to-back, so they usually have snacks in the car and are rushing from school to the first practice.
Youth Sports Parents Fact: 38% of parents choose big box stores because they need specific items and will go to great lengths to get their kids’ favorite snacks. Additionally, parents say they shop at a big box store because it has the best price
Thursday & Friday
Thursday and Friday are both full days for George and his sports family. Both of his daughters will need to get to school, get picked up from school and head to practices. Most of the time George takes on the driving duty, but once in a while when soccer practice is close to school his youngest daughter Naomi will take the train.
Thursday and Friday again call for an attempt to squeeze in an early dinner before practice, finishing up any outstanding homework, and off to bed!
Now weekends in corporate America mean time off, but not for the busy youth sports parents.
“On weekends sometimes I drive 2 hours to goalie practice in Connecticut,” George says. “And before that I’ve already driven my other daughter to her archery tournament in Long Island.”
Needless to say, weekends include more driving, more athletics, and more moments that call for quick and convenient meals on the road. “Some days I don’t make the commute to Connecticut because we’ll have multiple games and multiple tournaments over the weekend for both of my daughters.
Youth Sports Parents Fact: 42% of parents select a hotel based on amenities. When choosing a hotel, parents consider if it has a pool for the kids, laundry machines, and parking. The decision in choosing a hotel is more driven by the overall experience than retail or restaurant purchases.
Youth Sports Parents Fact:45% of parents select a hotel because it is close to their destination.
We’re not sure how you’re feeling, but as a marketer it’s probably tiring just to read a full week-in-the-life of a youth sports family. But, while all the driving, packing, organizing, and supporting can seem exhausting, it only makes what brands can do for these parents more important. If brands can reach these parents in the moments when they have been on the road for hours, they can add simplicity, clarity and some ease to the lives of their customers.
A restaurant like Chipotle is a reliable fast casual restaurant for a family like this because it is near almost every one of Naomi’s practices. It’s affordable, and it’s a balanced, healthy choice. Locations of quick-serve restaurants are really important as these families are often on-the-go and worried about getting to the field in time. If a restaurant is near a field, the chances of that family stopping before or post-practice is very high.
If you are interested in learning more about parents as consumers, don’t forget to download our full report: The 2023 Parents as Consumers Report.