How Money Affects Participation In Sport
Money is a major factor in determining whether an individual, young or old, can participate in a sport in the UK. Money is the ultimate factor and one only has to compare three sports, football, motor racing and polo to truly comprehend the impact.
On a prominent motorsport web site there is an explanation about how one can get involved in the sport of motor racing for the low price of £3000. For an individual who comes from a low-income family the price to start at the bottom to learn how to race a car is much too expensive. Participation in the most organized and lucrative sport in the UK, motor racing, is beyond the reach of those people who are not comfortably middle class and have some disposable income. Money is the barrier to entry to many people becoming actual participants in the sport and not observers. A similar situation is found in the great sport of polo.
Equestrian Polo is the sport of the wealthy as a lower level polo horse can cost approximately £12,000 and you will need at least two of these horses. To learn how to play polo you must know how to ride competitive horses and this takes many hours of instruction and riding on a horse. Horse riding lessons are expensive and having access to them on a regular basis requires a large amount of money eliminates the majority of the UK working population from potential participation.
In contrast to motor racing and polo, two sports in which you must spend several thousand dollars just to gain an introduction into the sport, the cost to become involved in the sport of football is the cost of a soccer ball and maybe some football boots. A person can practice soccer at almost any field and because the costs are limited to a soccer ball and football boots an individual can easily be playing for £200.
When one compares the cost of motor racing or equestrian polo to that of football for a parent who is on a fixed income the majority will always choose football because its more affordable.
The higher the cost of entry to a sport the lower the number of people who will participate in the sport. The cost to a family for their child to play football is much less than the cost to learn how to race motorcars or ride polo horses.