Feature Article - June 2013
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2013 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


The top amenities included in respondents' facilities in 2013 include locker rooms (included by 60.9 percent of respondents), bleachers and seating (61.8 percent), classrooms and meeting rooms (59.3 percent), natural turf sports fields (56.8 percent) and concession areas (56.6 percent). (See Figure 20.)

Looking back to the 2009 Industry Report and comparing the percentage of respondents claiming specific amenities, we can rank the types of features that have seen the most expansion over the course of four years. Indoor sports courts have increased the most, by 6.9 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. They are followed by fitness centers (up 5.7 percent), synthetic turf sports fields (up 4.9 percent), bleachers and seating (up 4.8 percent) and exercise studios (up 4.3 percent).


Parks were the facility type that most commonly included: playgrounds (83 percent of parks respondents currently have them); park structures such as shelters and restrooms (81.7 percent); outdoor sports courts (70.5 percent); community centers (57.4 percent); splash play areas (29.9 percent); dog parks (29.4 percent); disc golf courses (28.9 percent); golf courses (21.8 percent); waterparks (15.9 percent); ice rinks (14.8 percent); and bike and BMX parks (9.5 percent).

Colleges were the facility type that most commonly included indoor sports courts (82.6 percent of college respondents currently have them), indoor running tracks (47.3 percent) and synthetic turf sports fields (36.7 percent).

Schools were the facility type that most commonly included locker rooms (89.8 percent of school respondents currently have them); bleachers and seating (86.8 percent); concessions (82.1 percent); natural turf sports fields (79.1 percent); outdoor running tracks (70.6 percent); and classrooms and meeting rooms (70.2 percent).

Health clubs were the facility type that most commonly included fitness centers (93.8 percent of health club respondents currently have them) and exercise studio rooms (79.7 percent).

YMCAs were the facility type most likely to include indoor aquatic facilities (63.2 percent of YMCA respondents currently have them) and childcare centers (60.7 percent).

Finally, camps were the facility type most likely to include open spaces (80 percent of camp respondents currently include them); trails (74.4 percent); campgrounds (55.2 percent); waterfronts, marinas and beaches (54.4 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (47.2 percent); challenge courses (44 percent); climbing walls (36.6 percent); nature centers (27.2 percent); skiing and other winter recreation (13.6 percent) and amusements (7.2 percent).

Some 38.7 percent of all respondents indicated that they have plans to add features and amenities to their facilities over the next three years. Respondents from parks and from camps were the most likely to indicate they had such plans, while respondents from health clubs were the least likely to have such plans. (See Figure 21.)

Nearly half (48.9 percent) of parks are planning to add features to their facilities over the next three years. Their top five planned amenities include: dog parks (planned by 26.7 percent of park respondents with plans for additional features); splash play areas (26.2 percent); trails (24.4 percent); park structures (21.6 percent); and playgrounds (20.3 percent).

Slightly fewer camp respondents (46.5 percent) reported they had plans to add features over the next three years. Their top planned additions include: playgrounds (30 percent); climbing walls (25 percent); splash play areas (20 percent); trails (18.3 percent); and park structures (18.3 percent).