Feature Article - June 2011
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State of the Industry 2011

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


More respondents this year indicated that they manage a single facility. In fact, the trend this year was toward managing fewer facilities among the survey respondents, generally speaking. This probably also reflects the drop in public employees among the survey population. More than a third (36.2 percent ) of respondents said they manage just one facility (compared with 32.9 percent last year), and another 23.9 percent manage two or three facilities. Less than a fifth (18 percent) manage 10 or more facilities. (See Figure 5.)

The number of facilities managed by respondents is correlated with the segment of the market in which they work. For example, parks and recreation respondents were less likely than other respondents to indicate that they manage just a single facility (15.9 percent) and were more likely to indicate that they operate 20 or more facilities (13.8 percent). Respondents from schools and school districts also were more likely than other respondents to say that they manage 20 or more facilities. Some 13.6 percent of them do so.

At the same time, parks and recreation respondents, on average, are managing fewer facilities than last year's respondents in this category. The average parks respondents manage 10.1 facilities (compared with 12.1 last year). The same holds true for schools and school districts, where respondents manage an average of 9.8 facilities (compared with 10.5 last year). (See Figure 6.)

More than two-thirds (67.4 percent) of respondents from colleges and universities said they manage three or fewer facilities, with about a third (32.9 percent) managing a single facility. On average, college respondents said they manage 3.9 facilities.

Respondents most likely to report that they operate or manage just a single facility came from health clubs, where 76.7 percent said they manage one facility; campgrounds and camps (68.8 percent); community or private recreation and sports centers (59.1 percent); and YMCAs (47.5 percent).

As one might expect, respondents from urban areas were more likely to report that they handle a larger number of facilities. More than a third (35.9 percent ) of urban respondents said they manage six or more facilities. This compares with just 27.6 percent of those from suburban organizations, and 20.1 percent of those from rural areas.