Nearly 50 million kids play organized sports each year, and each of them has a supportive family that digs deep into its pockets to pay for the essentials-uniforms, equipment, league fees, travel to away games. But the buck doesn't stop there. With private lessons, elite sports camps, corporate-sponsored tournaments, and all the hotel expenses and tourist traps that come with them, youth sports is more than just a fun pastime. It's an incredibly profitable market, and it's become crowded with companies and individuals eager to reap the rewards.
Building on his eye-opening investigation into the damaging effects of the ultra-competitive culture of youth sports in his first book, Until It Hurts, sports dad and journalist Mark Hyman takes us behind the scenes for a startling look at the business of youth sports, how it has changed, and how it is affecting young Americans. Examining the youth sports economy from many sides-the major corporations, small entrepreneurs, coaches, parents, and, of course, kids-Hyman probes the reasons for rapid changes in what gets bought and sold in this lucrative marketplace. He takes us to tournaments sponsored by Nike, Gatorade, and other big businesses. He talks to parents who sacrifice their vacations and savings to get their (sometimes reluctant) junior stars to these far-off, expensive venues for a chance to shine. And he introduces us to videos purporting to teach six-month-old babies to kick a ball, to professional athletes who will "coach" an eight-year-old for a hefty fee, to a town that has literally staked its future on preteen sports. However, the story isn't all big business and bad guys. Hyman also turns the spotlight on individuals cashing in on the youth sports market, but whose goods actually provide (at least) some benefits to kids.
Through extensive interviews and original reporting, The Most Expensive Game in Town looks beyond the high-energy ad campaigns, the supposedly performance-enhancing sneakers, and the cute baby-sized jerseys to explain the causes and effects of the commercialization of youth sports-and to reveal how these changes are distorting and diminishing family life. The proof is in the price tag. Happily, Hyman unearths promising examples of individuals and communities bucking this destructive trend and using youth sports to uplift and enrich kids' lives, rather than to fill their own pockets.
Click here to read a review of The Most Expensive Game in Town in the February issue of Publisher's Weekly.
Click here to watch editor of the New York Times Book Review Sam Tanenhaus' interview with Mark Hyman.
Click here to read a review of The Most Expensive Game in Town posted on IdeasTime.com.
Click here to read a write-up of The Most Expensive Game in Town posted on Momsteam.com.
Click here to watch the book trailer for The Most Expensive Game in Town.
Click here to read an interview with Mark Hyman posted on SportsLetter.com.
Click here to read a write-up of The Most Expensive Game in Town posted on OurmaninBoston.com.
Click here to read an article featuring The Most Expensive Game in Town a recent New York Times article.
Click here to read a write-up of The Most Expensive Game in Town posted on the blog StatsDad.com.
Click here to listen to an interview with Mark Hyman on PRI's Marketplace.
Click here to read a review of The Most Expensive Game in Town in Bloomberg Businessweek.
Click here to read a review of The Most Expensive Game in Town on the New York Times' Well blog.
Click here to read an opinion piece on "Room for Debate" blog
To read a review in the Boston Globe sports book round-up on September 1, 2012, click here.
Click here to read an article by Hyman in the New York Times about The Most Expensive Game in Town
“An eye-opening look at yet another way that profit-driven adults are robbing kids of fun. Mark Hyman’s compelling exploration of the business of youth sports today is an important read for anyone who cares about children—or how the game is played.” —Susan Linn, author of The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World