Feature Article - June 2010
Find a printable version here


What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

This year we saw a slight drop in the number of respondents who indicated that their facilities include any aquatic elements. More than half (51.7 percent) of respondents indicated their facilities include aquatics, compared with 54.9 percent last year. The majority of these again featured outdoor swimming pools, which are included in more than three-quarters of aquatic respondents' facilities. Around two-thirds of aquatic respondents indicated that they feature indoor swimming pools. Just under half feature splash play areas and/or whirlpools; and just over a quarter indicated that they had a waterpark. We can assume that this includes many municipal aquatic centers, given that privately owned waterparks make up a very small percentage of the overall response.

For more detailed information from respondents who include aquatic facilities as part of their makeup, click here.

While nearly one-third of respondents (32.9 percent) indicated that they manage just a single facility, this is a decrease from last year, when 36.8 percent said they managed a single facility. For the most part, this year's survey saw little change in the number of facilities managed by our respondents. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24.1 percent) reported that they manage either two or three facilities, and nearly another quarter (23.4 percent) said they manage from four to nine facilities. (See Figure 5.) One in 10 are managing between six and nine facilities, and nearly one-fifth (19.7 percent) are managing 10 or more facilities. This includes a jump of 1.2 percent in those managing 20 or more facilities, from just 8 percent last year to 9.2 percent.

As you would expect, respondents from parks and recreation agencies, with their various parks, ballfields, recreation centers and so on, reported managing the highest number of facilities. On average, respondents from parks and recreation agencies are managing 12.1 facilities. (See Figure 6.) They are followed by those from schools and school districts, who on average are managing 10.5 facilities. The smallest number of facilities are managed by health clubs (2.5) and community/private recreation/sports centers (2.9). Based on anecdotal evidence, one might expect the reliance on partnerships in this industry to grow in a down economy. As facilities cut budgets and programs, they can team up with other entities in their area to expand their reach and their ability to deliver a more diverse array of opportunities to their members or patrons. This was the case, with slightly more respondents (86.4 percent in 2010, compared with 84.7 percent in 2009) indicating that they had formed partnerships with other organizations.

Some respondents said that developing partnerships with other organizations was among their top concerns. "Partnerships not traditionally created with local and regional businesses" offer an opportunity to create new revenue streams, one respondent said. Another said that developing community partnership leads to "cost sharing as well as sponsorship of programs and facilities," adding, "We see more opportunities to increase revenue than we do to decrease costs."