Sports. Games. Competition. The Olympic Games.Jay Eagle

Each conjures up images of well-conditioned athletes tackling a variety of sports where they can excel and win individually or for their team. As we think of student athletes, we recognize that the lessons learned in athletics can help students prepare for future careers, whether on the court or field or off. 

But from a classroom perspective, sports can provide another opportunity - to discuss practical economic ties that can help students dig deeper into a topic that might be of interest to them. 

Think about opportunity cost. For an athlete to dedicate the time needed to excel at a sport to an Olympic competition level, what must they give up?

How about human capital? How will an athlete need to invest in themselves and their own skill set to reach their athletic goals? 

Or take the Olympic Games, for example. The opportunities to tie in economic concepts abound: what kinds of public goods and capital resource investments does a host city have to make? What are the costs and benefits involved in hosting the Olympics? How do Olympians earn income?

To help make it easy to tie in these types of economic concepts, we've compiled several resources below related to sports that you can use in the K-12 classroom. 

Using the Olympics as a Springboard for Economics

The summer or winter Olympics can be a great starting point for discussing economic topics. While these major sporting events are fresh in students' minds, teachers can weave in economic concepts from our Fifty Nifty Econ Cards into the discussion. It's easier to talk about more challenging concepts like exchange rates if you couch it in terms of figuring out the cost for Olympic tickets in another country, for example. You can also talk about entrepreneurship, producers and consumers from the unique lens of needs and wants during an Olympic competition.

To make the process easy, we've created a quick guide of concepts and discussion questions or activities you can use. 

Games, Books and Research

Looking for other ways to use sports or sporting events to help make economic concepts come alive? Other Federal Reserve Banks also have resources available; a sampling are linked below. For more, visit

Resources and Research:

Connect with us

Do you have ways you've incorporated sports into your economics or personal finance curricula? If so, share them with us via email, and we might use them in a future edition of our Teacher Talk Planner.

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