Top 10 Most Expensive Sports To Play

Top 10 Most Expensive Sports To Play

Some sports are inherently more expensive than others. This list ranks the most expensive sports to start playing, with low-end costs for basic equipment. Keep in mind that as athletes advance in their respective sports, the cost of higher-quality equipment can increase significantly.

1. Ice Hockey

Ice Hockey equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $750 initial costs, $20/hour to rent hockey skates
  • Ice Time Costs: ~$30/hour
  • Coaching Costs: Beginner Lessons - $25/hour, Advanced Lessons - $60-$90/hour

Ice hockey is a full-contact sport that requires a lot of equipment. The cost of all hockey equipment together starts at around $1,000. This price can be increased or decreased, depending on the brand of equipment and whether it is new or used.

Skates have a starting price point of $200. Shin guards and pants total $170. Upper body protective equipment such as shoulder pads and elbow pads are $160. Gloves are around $130, and a helmet is $200. A basic stick starts at $100. Other equipment such as hockey tape, laces, wax, a mouthguard, jerseys, and jocks come to a total of about $150 altogether.

2. Lacrosse

Lacrosse equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: ~$450-$620
  • Field Costs: $100-$450/hour (turf field), $60-$300/hour (outdoor field)
  • Coaching Costs: $50-$200/hour

Men's lacrosse is also a full-contact sport requiring lots of protective equipment. A basic stick costs $40, and as players progress, they usually opt to purchase a higher-quality shaft and head individually for customization.

A shaft starts at about $40 and a head starts around $30, but more advanced options can cost well over $100. A typical helmet costs $150 and up, and lacrosse gloves start at $50. Elbow pads can cost between $30 and $100, depending on the level of protection you are looking for. Cleats are also necessary to play, starting at $80.

All of this equipment must be worn on the field, including some additional smaller pieces such as practice jerseys, mouthguards, and a protective cup that starts at about $40 in total. The membership fee to play on a club team can vary, depending on the type of team and location, but youth teams usually start around $200 for a season.

3. Football

football equipmentCosts To Consider:
  • Equipment Costs: ~$315-$1,200
  • Field Costs: $29-$108/hour
  • Coaching Costs: $45-$225/hour (Ages 2-15); $120-$1,000/hour (Adults)

In football, helmets are the most important piece of protective equipment and also the most expensive. Helmets that provide the highest level of protection can cost well over $300, but players can buy used helmets for under $100.

Shoulder and chest pads cost $120. Cleats vary dramatically in price, costing between $50 and $150 on average. Practice uniforms are $20 and $40 for pants and a jersey. Additional smaller pieces of equipment, such as rib cage protectors and back plates, come out to about $40.

The total starting point for all of the equipment is $315. It is also important to have a football. A generic football starts at $20, and the price increases as the quality of the football increases.

4. Skiing

Skiing equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: ~$700
  • Lift Ticket Costs: $50-$200/person
  • Coaching Costs: ~$100/day (group lessons); ~$500/day (private lessons)

Since skiing is a sport performed in cold environments, it requires additional equipment to keep the athletes warm. To cut back on prices for skiers, they can also rent equipment. Renting skis, boots, bindings, and poles costs around $40 per day on average.

To purchase all of this equipment, it can cost over $700, including fitting and installation. Most casual skiers rent skis and poles unless they ski very frequently.

Ski jackets and pants, which usually cannot be rented, have a large range of prices. The least expensive jackets can be found for around $50, while cheaper pants cost $30. Prices for ski jackets and pants can increase to over $100 for the highest quality materials, insulation, and durability. Skiers often wear gloves and hats for added warmth. A pair of waterproof gloves is $20. A hat can be found for as little as $5.

5. Golf

golf equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $200-$3,500
  • Course Fees: ~$36/18-holes
  • Coaching Costs: $50-$100/lesson

Golf requires a set of 13 clubs, balls, a bag to hold the equipment, and shoes. This equipment can get pricey if bought individually. A full set of basic clubs starts at $200.

To go along with clubs, a bag is necessary to carry everything. A minimal bag costs $60. A small pack of golf balls starts at a price of $13. Golfers are also expected to supply their own tees. Tees are around $8 per pack of 100 tees. All of these prices fluctuate depending on the styles and quality of the equipment.

6. Baseball

Baseball equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: ~$385
  • Field Costs: $65+/hour
  • Coaching Costs: $140/hour

The cost of baseball equipment depends on the position a player is playing. The basic equipment includes a bat, glove, cleats, a bag, sliding pants, a belt, socks, and a hat.

Catchers have a variety of additional equipment for greater protection. Catcher's gear can cost between $150 to $400. Some coaches provide equipment for their catchers, while others do not.

Bats have a wide range of prices, depending on what type of material it is made out of. Most basic bats are around $75. A basic glove costs around $35, but this price can increase drastically for high-quality gloves. A bag to carry equipment starts at around $50. Cleats have a starting price point of $65. Baseball pants and socks come to be about $30.

7. Field Hockey

Field Hockey equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $450
  • Field Costs: $85/hour
  • Coaching Costs: $80-$190/hour

Field hockey sticks have a range of prices due to the different components that each stick is made of. The more carbon fiber a stick is made of, the more expensive it is. A basic wooden stick is cheaper than a stick that is made of a mix of materials.Sticks have a starting price of $45.

Shin guards vary in price as well, depending if they are hard or soft shin guards. Soft shin guards are cheaper and have a price point of $20. Cleats are necessary for outdoor players, with the least expensive pair of cleats costing around $60. 

8. Equestrian

Equestrian equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $250-$8,000
  • Venue Costs: $1,000/day to rent an arena
  • Coaching Costs: $20-$100/hour

The cost of horse riding lessons can vary based on location. Depending on the type of lesson, they can range from $45 to $80 an hour. Most farms have their own selection of equipment for riders to use.

Riders are responsible for their own proper clothing. Riding pants or breeches can be purchased at the lowest price of $25 per pair. Equestrian shirts are also important to wear. Basic ones can be found starting at $20.

More experienced riders will have a larger quantity of riding equipment of their own. Riding boots are also required for equestrians. There is a large variety of boots based on the rider's preference. Boots can be found for $100.

9. Gymnastics

Gymnastics equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $750-$3,500
  • Venue Costs: $95-175/hour
  • Coaching Costs: Beginner Lessons - $15-20/hour, Advanced Lessons - $150-$300/hour

Gymnastics is expensive due to the facility that is used or rented. Owning a gymnastics gym requires a lot of expensive equipment and trained professionals. A balance beam alone costs over $1,700.

Gyms have to charge higher participation fees to cover the expenses for all of the equipment. Recreational gymnastics classes are at least $15 per class. In comparison, competitive gymnastics has a starting point of $150 per month. Leotards cost $50 on average, and a gymnast is expected to have several of them.

For competitions, gymnasts need to have a competition leotard. Competition leos are much fancier than practice leos and are closer to a starting point of $150. Based on what design the team picks, the price can increase to as high as $500.

10. Martial Arts

Martial Arts equipment

Costs To Consider:

  • Equipment Costs: $300-$1,000
  • Venue Costs: $60-$250/hour
  • Coaching Costs: $175/month

Martial arts requires a strict uniform. For example, athletes in karate are expected to wear a gi, which consists of pants and a top. A karate uniform set can be found for $30.

To go along with the uniform, they need a belt reflecting what level they are. Belts have a starting price point of $9, although some martial arts studios will provide these for students. Throughout an athlete's career in martial arts, they will go through many different belts.

When training, it is often that punching mitts and kicking bags are used. Punching mitts can be found at a large variety of prices, between $15 and $50 on average. Punching bags are much more expensive since they stand on their own; for $80, you can get a basic, small one. To purchase a full-sized punching bag, it is at least $130.

Honorable Mentions


What is the most expensive sport to play?

The most expensive sport to play is ice hockey. Not only is the equipment expensive, but reserving ice time at a rink is also costly. For ice time and equipment, the total comes to around $2,000. The equipment keeps the players safe as they come into full contact with each other and often fall on the ice. Rinks are hard to maintain due to them being ice. The ice has to be smooth, and the building has to be cold enough to keep the ice frozen, increasing the maintenance costs.

What is the cheapest sport to play?

The cheapest sports will be the ones with the least amount of equipment, such as basketball, soccer, and swimming. Basketball only requires basketball shoes and a basketball. For soccer, you only need cleats, shin guards, and a ball. In order to swim, all you need is a swimsuit and goggles.