Pandemic costing youth sports millions, creating uncertainty

The gates to the fields and diamonds are locked at Grand Park in Westfield, Ind., Tuesday, April 7, 2020, with the facility closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Westfield officials estimate the area could lose $85 million in direct spending if Grand Park stays closed through June. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

By SCHUYLER DIXON

DALLAS (AP) — Youth sports leagues are bracing for even bigger financial losses with no end in sight for the shutdown of activity because of the new coronavirus pandemic. Youth sports is a $25 billion U.S. industry and it is indeed on a tightrope in many ways at the moment. Communities with sprawling, empty fields and arenas are losing millions of dollars with lucrative tournaments canceled or postponed. Team sports participation dipped after the 2008 recession. So officials wonder what youth sports will look like when kids begin to return to fields and courts.