The Captain
Years ago

What makes basketball so expensive for juniors?

Hi All,
I'm hoping someone on here might be able to assist me in understanding the financial structure of basketball in SA.

I have children who play a variety of sports and basketball sits near the top in terms of costs of registration and ongoing cost (umpire fee and admission for parents each week).

When I look across SA junior sports, the number of boys and girls playing basketball appears to be very high. So where does the money go?

I understand that unlike some sports, basketball has significant costs in terms of upkeep of stadiums, but many of the stadiums are very poor and run-down. So it seems reasonable to ask where the money is actually being spent??

I heard recently that a number of Soccer clubs use money from junior fees to pay their senior players. Does this happen in our district clubs to pay ABA players?

I don't want to come across as though I'm making any accusations and I'm sure the vast majority of clubs are very well run. When I see the numbers of youngsters playing the sport and think of the costs, there appears to be a significant income for basketball. I'm just trying to understand where that income goes?

I appreciate your help!

Topic #37570 | Report this topic

Years ago

I'm guessing here, but basketball is played in buildings. Buildings that cost Millions. I suspect that is where the bulk of the money goes.

However, your point about the upkeep of most of the buildings is a good one.

Reply #539141 | Report this post

Years ago

Most senior teams would cost $50k.

Some club put more money into these programs in terms of player payments.

Reply #539144 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Anon & Anon - thanks for the replies.

I expect the buildings will be the most significant expense - just in terms of lighting and general upkeep. However, stadiums such as Port Adelaide and even North Adelaide are pretty ordinary. Upkeep there must have been at a minimum for some time now.

If anyone else out there has any more info on how the clubs financials work I would really appreciate it.

Reply #539149 | Report this post

Years ago

The Captain, stadium upkeep has zero impact on a Club's finances as the Clubs don't manage venues, Basketball SA or a third party do.

I'm sure if you asked someone within your club they would be happy to give you the information you're after.

Otherwise go to your Club's AGM where they submit annual financials for all members to see.

Reply #539152 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Interesting Anon - I assume then the clubs must pay some fairly hefty fees for use of the facilities then?

I've tried looking on a few club websites for financials but nothing there.

I realise I could go to the AGM's etc... but I'm not out for a witch hunt etc... just trying to get my head around it and thought there would be some people on here who know how it works in some clubs.

Reply #539156 | Report this post

Years ago

Most clubs spend huge amounts on Court Hire, not just their 'home' stadium when they can actually train there but also all the other schools etc they have to hire.

Outdoor sports like soccer and afl generally get these thinks for little or no cost from councils.

Also in case you weren't aware the money to pay at the door as entry to each game does not go any club it all goes to Basketball SA.

Reply #539158 | Report this post

Years ago

Captain, out of interest - what do you pay? (which apply and how much for each?

Annual registration:
Door fee weekly?
Umpires fee weekly?
other fees?

Reply #539159 | Report this post

Years ago

Good luck getting your club to give you a true answer of where the money goes. Yes the jurors pay huge fees to support the seniors who play significantly less to play for your club and at Premier League level they get paid per game. Have a look on some of the club webs at the fees list (not everyone will have that even available) then compare the fees. So a parent with an income has to fork out for their kids for everything and support singles or couples to play when most of them may not have kids or still young with kids. I do not agree and if your kid is playing lower levels at Division 3/4 and below then I would suggest better value playing at a domestic competition for far less, at the same place every week and spend your money on your family in other ways. You will also find in Basketball many clubs have 2 paid staff which adds to cost. Our other sport club for our kids only has volunteers so they have no wages, super etc to pay and we pay a third of the price of basketball. The other thing is basketball is all year round so doubles instantly. Good luck as I said before as most clubs are cagey at releasing detailed info and you may only get an overview.

Reply #539162 | Report this post

Years ago

Is the number of players per team an issue? A football squad might have 20ish, right? So probably double the number but can get away with one umpire for a casual game, one manager, etc. Is that a fair assessment?

Are there any efficiency gains to be achieved in basketball somehow?

HO and others, would there be any interest in a site that compares prices for all junior basketball clubs? Just so parents know what they're getting themselves into?

Reply #539169 | Report this post

Years ago

Court hire costs can be quite high, i know we pay $35 an hour to train at a school. We train tuesday and thursday for 2 hours.

20 rounds in a season so that is 4 sessions at $70 each during the season - Add to that a preseason from Jan Feb and amrch of about 10 more weeks.

30 weeks at $140 per week thats $4200 in court hire training costs for a single senior team. We have three. Add in all your junior teams and it gets crazy.

If you don`t own your own venue which majority don`t court hire is your biggest killer.

Reply #539171 | Report this post

Years ago

Court hire is at least 75% of your fees at most clubs. Our club had a pie chart with all of this stuff in it, and it was by FAR the biggest expense.

Reply #539174 | Report this post

Years ago

Isaac, I know in Victoria there have been price comparisons done but the models are really different.

For example:

- in some stadiums you do not pay individual registration, but a team registration then a team fee to play
- in the next stadium you might pay a component of individual registration and pay for games a different way
- others charge the whole season up front - so one fee covers everything
- in country vic everyone pays a rego fee to country and then the stadiums have different ways of charging (some use team sheet some use individual)

its really hard to get a straight comparison cost

In answer to the captains original question, I would think in Victoria that most clubs have a proportion of what juniors pay to play going to pay for costs of senior rep sides.

Reply #539175 | Report this post

Years ago

It is a very expensive sport even more if your kids talented to play state some family's spending 20k a year to have that privilege a friends son is a state football player no $2500 to represent your state playing footy

Reply #539177 | Report this post

Years ago

"Court hire is at least 75% of your fees at most clubs. Our club had a pie chart with all of this stuff in it, and it was by FAR the biggest expense."

yet i know clubs (associations) in melbourne getting there courts for peppercorn rates - so court hire is actually one of their lowest costs.

It just differs really widely from place to place.

Reply #539178 | Report this post

Years ago

My guess is that every club must publish financial statements to members. If they don't then they must be breaking the law. You should be able to see where the money goes if you ask to.

Reply #539186 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Thanks for all the responses - much appreciated. I think the court hire would be a significant expense. Most of the junior teams I've seen have had at least one training a week away from the clubs home venue - so certainly court costs there.

For the record my basketball expenses;

Registration: $375 (Winter season)
Weekly umpire fee $5
Entry per adult spectator $5

Of course on top are singlet and shorts purchases etc...

Compared to football;
Registration: $180

No on going expenses. Guernsey provided. Must purchase shorts and socks (much cheaper than basketball).

I'm sure the expenses for stadium hire etc... would be more than football clubs pay for oval maintenance/hire.

I guess the bit that has me somewhat perplexed is the possibility that some junior fees are being used to pay people to play ABA. I find that suggestion to be outrageous.

Or am I wrong? Is it a reasonable thing to do in terms of having ABA as a pathway?

Reply #539195 | Report this post

Years ago

This is not my experience.
I have 1 daughter player rep basketball at $550 per season.
I have another daughter who plays rep soccer at $1500 per season. At the trail if you are selected, payment required upfront on the spot, or your position is offered to next in line... and they play on council ovals!!!

Reply #539196 | Report this post

Years ago

The Captain can you confirm which state you play in? If in SA is it District basketball?

Reply #539200 | Report this post

Years ago

I would expect basketball clubs to be incorporated under teh SA Assocaitions Incorporatino Act.

Entites incorporated under that Act are required to have the audited financial report "laid before the members" at the AGM. If there's no AGM then it has to be "laid before the members" within 5 months of the end of the financial year.

They also have to provide regular returns to the Corporate Affairs commission. Frequency is determined by the Act's regulations and I don't know what it is currently. Not sure whether it's possible to access any of those returns through the Commission.

Some associated entities provide copies of their annual reports to the State Library.

Reply #539201 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Yes SA district basketball.

I know for certain that Basketball is much cheaper than soccer - their fees are absolutely outrageous! As I said, I had heard that the soccer clubs use much of the fees from juniors to pay their players in their Premier League and State League teams.

As I struggled to understand where the basketball money goes, it got me wondering if our district clubs are doing something similar?

Reply #539204 | Report this post

Years ago

well District doesn't charge an Umpire fee or charge spectators $5 per game.

Reply #539207 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Um yes district does.
Every match we pay $5 for a ticket for the players - the tickets are collected and counted by the referees at half time. If they don't have a ticket for each player, the player can't continue.
Every venue also charges $5 per spectator.

If two parents want to watch their kid play an U12 district match, it costs $15 per game.

Reply #539210 | Report this post

Years ago

Children U3 free
Spectators $3
U10 $5
U12 above $7 until you reach Senior Div 2-5 and youth League Div 1/2 then it goes to $9.50

So family with 2 players in U12 above is $20 a week to get in to games usually at 2 different locations.

15 week season plus finals = 17
18 week season plus finals = 21
Total 38 games in a year = $760.00 year entry fees for 2 kids

Then add fees twice a year, uniforms, shoes, holiday clinic, tournaments locally and interstate, fuel and the costs mount up.

Real costs are for the court costs for trainings and some clubs have options on better sprung or air-conditioned clubs so may charge more. Staff costs and then supporting senior and representative teams.

Reply #539225 | Report this post

Years ago

A small comparison, in broad terms anyway, to justify some football expenses to that of some basketball expenses (generally speaking):

Football clubs usually have more autonomy and flexibility in the use and output in dollar terms to that of a basketball club. In basketball terms it is an Association that runs the competition, not necessarily the venue and clubs will play games there, where as in football the club is the main body under a bigger league made up of much bigger clubs than basketball (all with their own venue).

The result is that football clubs can generate their own income, through meals, drinks, fundraising nights, chook raffles, poker machines, entry fees to games (much bigger crowds attending), sponsors etc...

They can control this aspect of income, basketball clubs generally have only a membership fee if at all, then some fundraising or sponsorship if they work at it.

Associations collect fees for membership, door entry and sponsors but most do not run their own canteen and will have massive ongoing fees, but some Associations are in control and do have more income generating options such as canteens, like HO states there are so many variations in basketball operations or structures.

For the average player/family person involved in these sports they have to pay to play and wear a uniform, but the difference in how much extra we pay for the privilage to play basketball lies in the 'middle man expenses'.

As stated in some of the above posts, basketball is a complex and multi-tiered organisation, far more so than football.

Basketball needs far more officiating and people to run games because there are far more games in shorter bursts and while overall participation numbers might be similar in some areas, teams are smaller and there are many more of them so costs are less spread among team mates than for football.

So many more areas to compare, but I won't try to do so here. Not even going down the track of training costs or just using a venue to have a run (you can always have a kick of the footy on an oval without being asked to shell out cash because of running costs to have the lights on).

'What makes basketball so expensive for juniors?'
Answer - 'Almost everything.'

Reply #539227 | Report this post

Years ago


Without looking closely or providing lots of figures, anecdotally that figure would be cheaper at the Melbourne club. (ASSUMING it is NOT rep).

- I would think that stadium entry fees @ $2-$3 per person
- weekly team sheet fees similar to you(maybe $6.00 per player?) (you call it umpires fee)
- it is the club registration fees i think that would be a lot less

here is Melbourne East:

and one of their clubs for rego:

Reply #539231 | Report this post

Years ago

Don't think the canteens here in SA all make money for their club as they may have structures you are not aware of and income may be nil or minimal. Lots of assumptions going around and very little fact in relation to income from them.

Reply #539237 | Report this post

Another Anon  
Years ago

Just another one that hasn't been mentioned - Insurance. Been involved in club financials for cricket in WA and the biggest increased cost over the last 10yrs has been insurance. So whether it's the club's own insurance or the facility's insurance costs being past on to clubs (or both!), don;t be surprised if that's a huge factor as well.

Reply #539243 | Report this post

Years ago

Generally insurance is a really small thing for basketball. The insurance cover is generic, covers players (badly) but good cover for clubs with public liability etc.

Reply #539244 | Report this post

Years ago


In SA the state body runs ALL the competitions in a stadium. And as such takes all the revenue. Clubs must pay the state body for every session of training they have at those venues.

I am involved in a club who spends $100K+ in court fees ever year. ANd we dont have a domestic competition from which to draw revenue.

Reply #539248 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks anon^, you are correct that the difference in the way each State runs its basketball operations varies so much in Australia it makes comparisons like this a nightmare...

Reply #539250 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Really interesting discussion everyone - thank you so much for your input.

Lots there that I hadn't factored in - insurance is a killer for many, many activities.

So two questions remain for me;

Does anyone know if clubs use juniors fees etc... to pay ABA players.

If Basketball SA in fact run the majority of the functions, stadiums, canteens etc... should we be asking questions about the running of the sport from that end? Basketball looks to have comparable numbers of players to Football, but Football clubs seem to run much better. Is the structure of basketball in SA a hindrance?

Reply #539254 | Report this post

Years ago

Too bad Basketball SA isnt simply a governing body that only has to ensure governance is adhered too - such as what the AFL do and from I believe Baskteball in Victoria do.

This model allows not for profit Clubs to become not for profit associations and the revenue generated goes back to developing the game and grow grass roots basketball through their own domestic competition.

This was the model Sports and Recreation envisioned when they bailed out BASA.
What we have now is the total opposite.

Reply #539264 | Report this post

Years ago

Surely sponsorship would be a big part of it, my junior football club had probably triple the sponsors of the district basketball clubs.

Reply #539266 | Report this post

Years ago


Reply #539275 | Report this post

Years ago

Our rep association (the most expensive) uses domestic revenue to fund the senior SEABL program.

Reply #539311 | Report this post

Years ago

I will never have a problem with money going towards a SEABL program, its a very good thing.
If parents have an issue with money going towards SEABL teams then simply take away their Hoop Dreams and play domestic basketball.

To reach SEABL level you need to be disciplined and this commitment and discipline crosses over continually throughout a players life in work, education etc nothing comes easy.

Kids want to have a pathway towards the best basketball competition their association can provide.

Importantly money needs to go back into junior development, its really a perfect scenario as the players pathway can extend to SEABL, U.S College Scholarship + Education ($US 150K), NBL, Overseas, Olympics or NBA.

Reply #539318 | Report this post

Years ago

I don't know anyone who dreams of SEABL

Reply #539323 | Report this post

Years ago

You're wrong #323, kids dream of one day representing their club at a senior level, which in the majority of cases is SEABL

Reply #539333 | Report this post

Years ago

They'd dream about playing in the NBA, then settle for the NBL or SEABL when reality hits I think you'd find

Reply #539341 | Report this post

Years ago

248 - Domestic Comps do not generate much revenue if not any at all.
Running costs are the same as district as the refs, court supervisor and court hire still have to be paid to BSA. The coaches are paid for games and training, albeit low but many games are coached by youth members who commit to supplement their income while at Uni and cover petrol costs. Only way to get coaches regularly at this level so profits quickly reabsorbed. The cost to players are low to make it affordable to families and they still run trainings with all the same cost again for hire, coaches, etc. They also have someone in charge to run the competition as they have 20 - 40 teams per stadium at those that run domestic in Adelaide. All is not what it seems, again many assumptions without confirmation. There are many volunteers too that reduce costs. There is also managing Aussie Hoops which often crosses over between the 2. Its more about providing pathway for those wishing to play and maybe go to a district team and not always at the same place domestic is run. Again, assumptions and not facts. The only way to make money at domestic is to have 10 players in a team and that defeats the purpose of opportunity to play and most teams run with much lower numbers if possible. Court time is usually equal as well so great value for kids. Suggest to OP to try a domestic competition if not in Div 1/2 and not likely to make it to that level and save some money and time with less trainings. Sometimes more fun too.

Reply #539346 | Report this post

Years ago

As an side issue ,Ive been in many a stadium and watched quite a few persons just walk through not pay any fees( yes taken into account re-entries, coaches, parents roll in after kids ). Dont pigeon Hole the fee dodger ,they come in all manner of societies types .So did my own study( god yeah bored) whenever out on district games and now wonder if a turnstile with a bar code laminated ticket would be a good way to increase incomes collected ?

Reply #539347 | Report this post

Years ago

Rediculous you have to pay to watch your children play after spending all that money already

Reply #539359 | Report this post

Jack Toft  
Years ago

Court hire is the biggest cost

Reply #539662 | Report this post

Years ago

If I am not mistaken, you have to pay to watch kids play football, gates are usually manned and entrance fees paid on game day. The difference is that your kid might play two or three games of basketball a week, football it would only be one game.

Mostly a domestic game of basketball they do not charge entrance fees to watch, representative games, yes, but I don't see this as an issue at all...

Reply #539710 | Report this post

The Captain  
Years ago

Hi Bear,
You definitely do not have to pay to watch your kids play football.

For my Son it is $180 registration fee and nothing further. No sheet/umpire fee, no entry costs. The club also provides guernsey.

For my Son to play Basketball it is $375 plus entry and sheet/umpire fees each week. Plus purchase of shorts and two singlets (all more expensive than the football equivalent). Seems like a big difference.

Reply #540005 | Report this post

Years ago

AFL gets big sponsorship, government handouts and TV rights and can therefore provide funds to grassroots while also spending money to shut out other sports.

Councils give football clubs venues including club rooms which make money.

Basketball raises money from the bottom (as do many sports) because they don't get sponsorship, GOVERNMENT or TV money.

Councils charge for venues, they're all too small and therefore clubs have to spend further to hire schools and other gyms.

Reality of the world we live in. If you want to blame someone go to your council and ask why they don't provide basketball with a venue suitable for its needs. Go to your State or Federal member and sk what support they provide one of the highest participation sports in Australia.

Reply #540014 | Report this post

Years ago

@The Captain, I am guessing you are referring to a younger juniour age group there? When you say you have to pay to watch your kid play basketball, what level of basketball and where is it you are trying to compare with the football?

I would be interetsed to know specifically, it doesn't quite sound right to me...

Reply #540110 | Report this post

Years ago

Comparing local footy to club district.

Apples and oranges but in their defense, there is very little local basketball and a lot of club basketball.

Reply #540128 | Report this post


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