Top 10 Cheapest Sports To Play

Top 10 Cheapest Sports To Play

Sports are a great way to exercise and have fun, but they often come with big price tags. Equipment, coaching, league and practice fees, and transportation all have varying costs across different sports. This list details the ten most affordable sports.

What are the Cheapest sports to play?

  1. Cross Country
  2. Track & Field
  3. Swimming
  4. Soccer
  5. Basketball
  6. Ultimate Frisbee
  7. Dance
  8. Tennis
  9. Baseball/Softball
  10. Inline Hockey

1. Cross Country

Cross country gets the top spot as the most affordable sport for a plethora of reasons: it is a large team sport with minimal equipment and minimal coaching. The large team aspect of this sport helps drive down the cost, as league and coaching fees are split across team members.

The only equipment needed for cross country is running shoes. While running shoes can cost hundreds of dollars, every sport requires some type of expensive footwear such as cleats or tennis shoes. Furthermore, coaching in cross country is fairly hands-off: most of the training in cross country involves an individual running on their own.

2. Track & Field

Track & field is a similar sport to cross country, though it has some key differences. For one thing, track & field has more complex events which require more equipment and coaching. Shot put, for example, is a track & field event where individuals launch a weighted ball, called a shot, as far as they can. The cost of the shot, and other equipment such as a protective net, help drive the cost of this sport past cross country. Other track & field events, such as hurdles, have their own costs, again because of the materials needed in order to hold the event.

Coaching plays a bigger role in track and field than it does in cross country, too. This is largely due to the specialized nature of track and field. There are many unique techniques to learn in track & field, whereas cross country is all centered around cardiac conditioning.

3. Swimming

Swimming is an affordable sport, so long as one has access to a pool. If a swimmer does not have easy access to a pool, this sport becomes extremely inconvenient. However, most individuals considering swimming can access a pool.

There is little to no equipment required for swimming, which helps keep the cost low. The biggest expenditures are goggles and swimsuits. Goggles can be purchased for as low as $10, with most quality pairs selling for around $40.

Lessons for swimming can be pricey, especially if you elect to get individual coaching. However, swimmers have the option to take group lessons, which helps keep the cost low.

4. Soccer

Soccer is the cheapest of the “main sports.” As a result of this affordability, soccer is the most popular sport around the globe.

All you need to play soccer is a ball and a goal. If people are just playing pickup soccer, they can get creative and use household items to form a goal. For someone who plays in a league, they don’t get charged much for the balls or goals since both these pieces of equipment get used by multiple teams throughout the day.

Soccer is also affordable because it is a large team sport. Similar to cross country, the price is kept low because the team fees, which go towards playing in a league and paying a coach, are split between the team members.

The most expensive equipment for soccer is a pair of cleats. The price of cleats varies greatly, with the nicest models costing significantly more money. On average, cleats will cost around $100.

5. Basketball

Basketball is another sport that has widespread popularity thanks to its affordability. Just like soccer, all you need is a ball and a net! Many basketball courts that are free for the public to use at any time. This helps keep the cost of practicing and playing for fun very low.

League fees for basketball can cost hundreds of dollars, depending on the league and the age range. Basketball leagues also cost more than some of the other sports on this list because there are several referees needed to officiate a game.

Like soccer, the most expensive cost of playing basketball is footwear. Basketball shoes can be purchased at many different prices, typically ranging from $50 to $150.

6. Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is a great game to play if you’re not looking to sink too much money on equipment. All you need for this sport is a good frisbee!

Most quality frisbees cost around $10, and range from $5-$30. If you play in a league, they will likely provide the frisbee for any games. However, it is a good idea to have your own frisbee, should you want to practice or play with friends.

Cleats are helpful to wear but not entirely necessary for this sport. The only other costs are league fees and, optionally, training fees for 1-on-1 instruction. Between league fees, practice fees, and cleats, ultimate frisbee players can expect to spend $300 and up a year on the sport.

7. Dance

Competitive dance is a fantastic way to stay in shape while performing and/or competing. While it requires little to no equipment, dancing is often associated with expensive training. In America, individual dance lessons range on average from $75 to $100 per hour.

The price of dance shoes depends on the type of dancer. For example, ballet dancers need pointe shoes, while break dancers typically wear sneakers. On average, pointe shoes cost $60-$100 dollars, whereas sneakers for breakdancers cost $65-$120.

8. Tennis

Tennis seems like a low-cost sport, but it has certain aspects that often drive the price higher than that of basketball or soccer. One such characteristic is that tennis is a popular sport for players to engage in individual lessons. Tennis is either played 1-on-1 or 2-on-2, so it is harder to receive group training than it is for team sports.

Tennis also has some pieces of equipment which can rack up a fee. The tennis racket, for example, costs anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars. For beginners, tennis rackets range in price from $25 to $100, depending on size and quality. However, expert tennis players likely spend as much as $300 on tennis rackets.

9. Baseball/Softball

Baseball and softball are more expensive than some of their team sport counterparts. A big reason for this is the equipment needed for baseball and softball. Gloves, cleats, and bats add up to a decent bill.

Still, baseball and softball are one of the more affordable sports. Since it is a team sport, as opposed to an individual sport like tennis, league fees are manageable. However, many baseball players will seek out private lessons. Particularly, pitchers often get 1-on-1 lessons to learn more about how to play their position. Private sessions for amateur pitchers cost between $40-$100 per hour.

10. Inline Hockey

Inline hockey is a cheap alternative to ice hockey. Inline hockey occurs on a roller hockey rink, with players wearing inline skates. These skates are called inline because the four wheels on them are in-line, as opposed to roller skates, which feature two wheels in the front and two in the back.

Inline hockey certainly has its fees, particularly with equipment, but it is much less pricey than ice hockey. Inline hockey skates for beginners cost between $50 and $150.

Roller hockey players are also tasked with purchasing a stick, gloves, shin pads, and a jockstrap. The total cost of these pieces of equipment, not including the skates, ranges from $100 to $300. One option for these pieces of equipment is purchasing used equipment at a lower price. Some stores specialize in the sale of affordable, used equipment. These stores can help a player buy all their equipment, including skates, for as little as $100. 

FAQ

What is the cheapest sport to play?

The cheapest sport to play is cross country. This is thanks to the lack of equipment needed for the sport and the minimal coaching required. Cross country also is the cheapest sport to train for; just get out and run! Another great thing about cross country is that training can overlap with everyday activities. Simply going for a run or playing another sport trains an individual’s heart and helps build stamina that can be used for cross country.

What is the most expensive sport to play?

The most expensive sport to play is ice hockey. The biggest fee associated with hockey is the equipment needed. Hockey is a fast-paced, physical sport; without protective equipment players would be at risk of injury. Hockey skates vary greatly in price, and are the most expensive piece of equipment for most players. Individuals can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$1,000 on hockey skates, depending on their age and experience level. Goaltenders have to pay even more for hockey equipment. Leg pads for goalies cost $300-$700 at the youth level, and $200-$2,000 at the senior level!