Sporting is a part of human nature. It promotes teamwork and athleticism for the athletes and allows spectators to feel like they’re part of something by rooting for their home team.
Although we all enjoy tossing the pigskin around, hitting a baseball, and shooting hoops, some sports are beyond the reach of the middle class.
While scrolling through one of my favorite Reddit communities, R/Askreddit, I found a fun question asking users which sports are “rich people sports.”
The answers are entertaining and enlightening. Some sports cost thousands of dollars just to start!
Here are some sports that you can only afford if you’re rich.
Nothing screams “I have money” like owning a polo horse. “As I understand it, a single polo horse is over $100,000, and they bring like 4-5 of them to a match,” answered one user.
“It makes me laugh at crypto dudes who own their own jets. High-level competition polo is the most expensive hobby I can imagine. We are not talking thousands; we are talking millions of dollars a year,” responded another.
Dressage is an Olympic horseriding event. It involves intense training to master, both for horse and rider. A well-trained dressage horse will almost appear to be doing a horse dance.
The sport is so niche many users didn’t even know what it is. “Checks out,” said one user. “Grew up on food stamps and welfare – have no idea what that even is.”
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Others users claimed show jumping, the other Olympic horse riding event, is far more expensive than dressage.
“A successful children’s pony for showjumping in the A circuit will easily cost $300,000. There’s only maybe 1000-1200 dressage horses in the entire country that cost more than $250,000,” claimed one user.
“The children’s Hunter ponies come with a price tag that could put any reasonable person into physical shock. What’s considered “decent-ish” for the A shows will run you 200. It is absolute madness,” exclaimed another.
Formula 1 Racing
All car racing is expensive, but those who get really into it need to shell out big bucks. Redditors joked that car racing was the easiest way to turn a large fortune into a small one.
Another user highlighted exactly how expensive hobby racing could be. “A friend of mine owns a business that has a membership at a racetrack, and even when I am able to get my car out on a track for “free,” it can be like $1-2k per day IF I don’t hit anything or get a hotel. There are still fees, services, parking, and you can’t forget the schmoozing. That’s not even considering the traveling costs, I haul my own cars, but that means I have more fuel, more tires, more maintenance, and I needed a F250 and a trailer,” they said.
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One Redditor said sailing is only for the rich, but other users were quick to point out that although yachting and owning a large sailboat is prohibitively expensive, savvy sailors could pick up the hobby for far less.
“I race sailboats on Wednesdays. I have a partner in our boat. The boat cost us $3k total, and our monthly storage is about $100. Races are about $40 to enter,” stated one, showcasing how cheap it can be if you go with a tiny boat.
Another said you could sail for free by joining a crew on a larger boat. “Owning a boat can be expensive,” they started, “but sailing is cheap. All big boats need crew, and some of the positions can be learned really quickly with no prior experience.”
Skiing and Snowboarding
Fun winter sports can get pricey even for casual participants. One user broke down the price of one ski weekend, saying it’s “$300-400 for a board/ Skis $100-200 for shoes to attach to your board or Skis $40-100 for a helmet $40-100 for the privilege to be on the mountain And then like $60 bucks for a lift ticket.”
Others said the original commenter was way off with their prices, underestimating by a large sum. “$60 for a ticket???” exclaimed one. “Currently, in Colorado, the big resorts are $200+ a day for lift tickets,” they added.
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One user said they’ve only seen rowing in relation to Ivy League schools, so they assumed it must be a rich people’s sport.
Another reason agreed with the assumption: their rich cousins participated in rowing. “My cousins were heavily involved at both the high school and college level. They were in private schools, and when I told someone where they lived in the city the person was from, he called them the “proper rich” of a city known for rich and overly expensive options.”
One user jokingly called Lacrosse a “trust fund stick” because only rich kids play it.
Others said that although it used to be a sport just for the rich, the tide is changing as more public schools and communities offer Lacrosse.
“Even 15 years ago, you’d only see it competitive in the ivys or consolidated in certain areas, but I’ve seen some of the best lacrosse played by native Americans way up in New York with nothing more than helmets, gloves, and a stick they carved and strung themselves. Also, public schools, at least on the east coast, are starting to fund it,” shared one user.
Golf is affordable, but in the US, there’s a stigma that it’s associated with the rich. Exclusive country clubs gatekeeping membership seek to maintain the idea of gold as a rich people’s sport, and those in the middle class don’t even bother.
“I have, to this day, never once played golf, nor have I ever seen someone play golf. Growing up, it was for “Rich folks, “and the nearest course was an hour away. I’m in my late twenties, live in a city, and make good money, but still, in my head, I’m too poor for golf,” shared one user.
“Around here (US), it’s probably marred by the exclusive golf clubs that cost like $1000/mo for a membership,” replied another.
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One user said that the monetary costs of ballroom dancing are pretty high, but the actual price is the time sink. They said clothes can cost upwards of $2k, but “don’t underestimate the time you have to invest, and you can only do so if you are rich.”
It takes a lot of time to learn how to complete all those complex dance moves well enough to compete. Most of us are too busy working to have that much free time.
Bonus: Youth Sports
Many users lamented the rising costs of youth sports, saying they’d love to have their kids play a sport, but the price is becoming too much to bare.
Users specifically mentioned hockey and cheerleading as two common youth sports that are outrageously expensive for regular folks.
Hobbies Don’t Have to Be Expensive
The sports Reddit users listed as reserved for rich people can get pricy, but engaging in sports and hobbies doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
We commoners may never get to play polo or compete in formula one racing, but there are tons of other hobbies we can enjoy that are far cheaper and likely more fulfilling.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.