Wrestling is a sport like no other. It requires a balance of physical, mental, and emotional toughness in order to succeed. Reasons like those are why wrestling has such a diehard fanbase of passion-filled fans.
If you run a wrestling program or want to start a new wrestling program and have found it hard to manage your finances and stay afloat every year, this post is for you. In this post, you’ll learn our best steps to creating and managing your youth wrestling budget.
One reason why wrestling program’s may find it tough to manage their expenses every year is that they don’t know what to expect. Especially when it’s a brand-new program. From equipment, to registration fees and tournament fees, to renting a facility, here’s some of the costs you should be aware of:
Coaches’ Certifications and Education Fees
Club Website, Registration, and Communication Fees
Facility Rental Costs
Program Registration and Insurance Fees
Food and Drinks for Competitions and Travel
Hiring Referees for Meets
Marketing and Promotion of Your Program
While this may seem like a long list, it’s good to keep in mind every possible expense you may encounter each season. This will help keep your program ready for any unexpected costs and allow you to set aside a budget for these fees in advance which may help to save your program in the long run.
After you build your list of possible expenses, the next step would be to transfer all of the expenses over to spreadsheet that is easily accessible and transferable online. This will not only help you stay organized while creating and managing your budget, but it will allow you to easily keep track of your finances each season and easily be able to hand it off if you find that your program changes board members in the following years.
Just create a simple Excel File and create a row for each potential expense so you can plug in amounts before your season to get an estimate of the total funds you'll need!
Next, move on to creating a simple budget.
After you’ve created your list of expenses, we can move onto researching and developing a budget range around these expenses. Below, we’ve outlined our list of expenses above and came up with some rough estimates for a few.
This section can range greatly as there are a lot of potential resources at your disposal. You can dig around on YouTube and create a playlist of great coaching videos you can share with any incoming coaches to keep this potential cost low, or you can buy courses online from sources such as Udemy if you want a more in-depth and professional education for your coaches.
A website can be a very essential part of your program, from running online registration, to communicating with parents, to being able to promote your program online, building out a website is a must for any club with 25 or more wrestlers.
Maintaining a website will help you grow and promote your club.
As a competitive wrestling program, going to tournaments can be the main focus of your season. Whether you want to go to 10 tournaments or just a couple, we’ve estimated these costs to be around $20 per wrestler although they can also vary greatly. One way you can get around this fee is to ask the parents to pay for their respective wrestler for each tournament and not require your full team to wrestle in every tournament.
Luckily, wrestling doesn’t require much gear to get started, your main gear expenses will come down to headgear and singlets. And depending on what brand you get, or if you want to customize them, these fees can vary. Although it’s possible to ask wrestlers to purchase their own headgear and singlet, we recommend shelling out the fees for these as you can use them for multiple seasons before needing to replace them.
Depending on how large of a facility you need, the costs here can really vary. One way you can try to get a facility for cheap or even free is to partner with schools in your local area. You can offer them a portion of the revenue from ticket sales and concessions when you host meets as a bartering chip!
Depending on your needs, the amount of memberships/programs you’ll need to register for can really vary. We recommend looking through teamusa.org for all your membership needs as they are the largest youth wrestling organization in the United States.
Depending on how many tournaments you enter, these fees can also greatly vary. A few cost saving ideas would be to require parents to drive their wrestlers to each meet vs. renting a bus for the team which could cost anywhere from a few hundred to fifteen hundred dollars depending on the size of the bus and the length of rental.
Depending on if you’re hiring a referee for a meet or a tournament, these costs can vary. Although, they typically average around $60 for meets and $130 for tournaments per referee.
Year end rewards such as trophies or medals can be a great way to reward your wrestlers for their hard work and dedication during the season. One neat idea to help cut costs is to ask a crafty parent to design your trophies for you. My youth wrestling club used to paint wooden bowling pins as rewards, and they were pretty cool, unique, and cost saving!
Promoting your wrestling program can certainly play a major role in the recruitment of wrestlers to your program.
From fliers, to newspaper ads, to online advertising through Facebook, these costs can vary greatly depending on your marketing medium and the amount of promotion needed. A few ways you can save costs on promoting your program is by getting your current wrestlers and volunteers involved. You can ask them to recruit their friends or help get the word out about your program around your community!
All in all, creating a defined outline of potential expenses will certainly come in handy when it comes time to decide how much you need to charge for registration to help cover some of your expenses. Just be sure to find solutions and more direct prices based on your needs and location for the expenses marked "varies" and the expenses with a wide range.
When it comes to generating income from your program, there are a few things you can do. In this section, we’ll discuss a few ways you can help generate more income from your program!
Registration fees will likely be your bread and butter when it comes to generating income for your program. While you can price your program on the high-end of the spectrum, we recommend shooting for an industry average at around $60-100. This will ensure your program is affordable for most and also make sure parents will be willing to sign their kids up for your program. Just be sure to average in your costs per wrestler and make sure your fees will cover them!
Hosting meets, and tournaments can be a great way to generate a little extra income for your program. If you’ve partnered with a school to host your meets, you can sell tickets and concessions for meets and hopefully be able to generate a little bit of extra income from it. This little bit of extra income can really come in handy when it comes to paying for a few of those added expenses above such as year-end rewards and travel expenses!
Finding sponsors for your program takes a lot of work, but it can be worth it if you can get 5-10 local businesses to help support your club. When pitching your program, just be sure to lay out the benefits of sponsorship and let them know that you’ll be promoting their brand at tournaments, meets, and on your website!
Lastly, asking community members or parents for donations can be a great way to pad the budget a bit every season. If some of your wrestlers’ parents are passionate wrestling fans, they’d likely be more than willing to shell out a few extra dollars to help support your program. One way you can easily ask parents for donations is by adding an option at the bottom of your newly created registration program. This way, you can ask parents for donations without pushing it on them!
After creating our individual expense sheet and income sheet, we can now combine those two to form a sheet somewhat like a company income statement for bookkeeping. By combining the two, you can now easily see if your program is generating enough income to cover your expenses each season. If you are, then you're in the clear!
An important thing to keep in mind with this income statement sheet are expenses that are only for one year such as equipment fees. Once the equipment is purchased, it can be used for multiple years so that major expenses will likely come off your book over the next few seasons leading to more revenue which will certainly come in handy.
An income statement can be a quick way to get a run-down on your programs financial health.
If you’ve followed all of the steps in this guide, by the end, you should be able to put together a useful spreadsheet that you can use to help manage your finances throughout the season. The more years you use your new spreadsheet, the better grasp you’ll have on the finances of your wrestling program!
While financing a wrestling program can be tough, we hope we’ve helped you discover that it’s very manageable if you stay organized and budget properly.