The Return of Spring Sports — and Spectators — Reiterates Need for Insurance

// March 3, 2022
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Punxsutawney Phil may have seen his shadow, but six more weeks of winter will not stop spring sports from heating up. After two years of adapting to various health concerns and ensuring their compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations, sports leagues are ready to mark the beginning of the season.

In addition to youth sports, adult sports leagues have grown in recent years, particularly among millennials due to growing interest in health and socialization (The Mountaineer). Involvement in sports has clear benefits, such as fitness, confidence and teamwork, but probable hazards are also at play for both participants and onlookers.

When considering the risks that come with sports, injury to participants usually comes to mind. Even with added precautions recommended by the CDC, sports participation puts players at risk of injuries due to the physical activity alone. Most participants and guardians understand this from the start, and organizations should have the necessary risk management procedures in place.

A lesser-known — yet fairly hazardous — risk is spectator injury. According to HealthDay, though spectator injuries are uncommon, they tend to be life-threatening and life-changing when they do occur. During this time, organizations may overlook or ignore this risk as their seasons kick off due to the expectation that fewer fans will be in the crowd. However, some states may be more lenient with their guidelines for sports spectatorship than others, and each athlete could have numerous guests in attendance to cheer them on while they’re playing.

Spectator injury is not a new problem. As long as sporting events have been around, spectators have been injured and, in rare cases, killed. Where does the liability fall? If a spectator attends a game, do they assume the risk of potential injury by default? According to, the line is blurred because spectators knowingly put themselves in potential danger.

While death is an extreme example of a spectator injury, the likelihood of such injuries only increases with the increase in sports participation — putting organizations at an increased risk for lawsuits. Consider this real-life example: In 2012, ESPN reported that an amateur baseball team in New Jersey incurred over $150,000 in claims expenses due to a spectator injury from an overthrown baseball.

While having good risk management practices in place, such as up-to-date equipment, facility maintenance, proper training, employee/volunteer screenings and waivers of liability, is recommended for any sports organization, having the proper insurance coverage can alleviate significant financial losses for which an organization may become liable. USLI offers a variety of insurance and value-added solutions for both youth and adult sports organizations. Our comprehensive package policy offers:

  • General liability
  • Property
  • Optional accident and health for youth-only organizations
  • Participant legal liability coverage
  • Abuse and molestation limits up to $1 million for youth-only organizations
  • Assault or battery coverage for youth-only organizations at no additional charge
  • Certain special events
  • Inland marine
  • Crime
  • Directors and officers
  • Employment practices

True to our service promises, USLI is able to offer a quote over the phone for most sports organizations, with as little information as the number of participants in a league or on a team. In addition, the Business Resource Center provides resources that greatly benefit youth organizations, such as discounted background checks, concussion training, child abuse policies and more.

Please contact your Nonprofit Package underwriter today for more information about our Sports Advantage product.

As always, thank you for your support and business.

Contact Brian Smith
Second Vice President, East Regional Team Leader | 888-523-5545, ext. 2727

Written by Kristin Ryan
March 2022