Feature Article - June 2015
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Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


Pool & Budgets

Respondents from facilities that included aquatics reported an average operating budget of $2,254,000 for fiscal 2014, 26.1 percent higher than the average for all respondents, though that difference is smaller than in 2013, when aquatic respondents had an average budget that was 30.4 percent higher than the average for all respondents. Respondents without any aquatic elements in their facilities had an average operating budget of $1,251,000—44.5 percent lower than the average for those with aquatics. This also is a smaller margin than in 2013, when those with aquatics had an operating budget that was 90.4 percent higher than those without aquatics.

Looking ahead, aquatics respondents are expecting to see slower growth in their operating budgets than those without aquatics. From fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016, respondents with aquatics said their overall operating expenditure would grow by 4.2 percent, from $2,254,000 to $2,348,000. In that same period, respondents with no aquatics projected a 9.3 percent growth to their operating expenditures, from $1,251,000 to $1,367,000.

After dropping in 2013, the average operating expenditure for aquatics rose by 5.7 percent in 2014, from $418,000 to $442,000. Over the next two years, aquatic operating expenditures are expected to rise another 9.3 percent, to a total of $483,000 in fiscal 2016. (See Figure 37.)

Respondents from parks again have the highest average aquatic operating expenditure, reporting an average of $586,000 in 2014. They were followed by health clubs, with an average of $414,000, community centers at $379,000 and YMCAs, with $375,000. Camps and schools had the lowest average operating expenditure for aquatics, spending an average in fiscal 2014 of $255,000 and $271,000, respectively.

A majority of aquatic respondents reported that their aquatic revenues had remained stable or increased from 2013 to 2014, and an increasing number expect the same over the next two years. Some 30.7 percent of aquatic respondents said aquatic revenues increased from 2013 to 2014, and 56.5 percent said aquatic revenues had remained the same in that time period. Some 12.8 percent said aquatic revenues had decreased from 2013 to 2014.

Looking forward, 33 percent of aquatic respondents expect aquatic revenues to increase in 2015, and 32.6 percent expect an increase in 2016. Some 59.4 percent expect revenues to remain the same in 2015, and 61.6 percent expect aquatic revenues to hold steady in 2016. Just 7.6 percent of aquatic respondents projected revenues would decrease in 2015, and 5.7 percent expect a decrease in 2016.

Aquatic respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to report that their aquatic revenues had increased from 2013 to 2014. Some 40.6 percent of YMCA respondents reported such an increase. They were followed by community centers, where 40 percent of aquatic respondents saw an increase to aquatic revenues from 2013 to 2014.

From 2014 to 2015, and from 2015 to 2016, community center respondents with aquatics are the most likely to project increases in aquatic revenues. Some 45.6 percent of these respondents projected such an increase in 2015, and 45.9 percent are expecting an increase in 2016. They were followed in 2015 by health clubs, where 45.2 percent of aquatic respondents project an increase in aquatic revenues. For 2016, YMCAs follow, with 41.8 percent projecting an increase to aquatic revenues.

In every year covered by the survey, aquatic respondents from schools were the least likely to report or project an increase in aquatic revenues. From 2013 to 2014, just 17 percent of aquatic respondents from schools said they had seen such an increase. Looking forward, 8.7 percent of aquatic respondents from schools expect an increase in 2015, and 15.9 percent expect an increase in 2016.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs and parks were the most likely to report a decrease in aquatic revenues from 2013 to 2014. Some 21.2 percent of aquatic respondents from health clubs and 20 percent from parks said they had seen aquatic revenues decrease in that year.

There was virtually no change from 2014 to 2015 in the percentage of aquatic respondents who said that their aquatic revenues support their aquatic operations. Nearly one-fifth (19.5 percent) of aquatic respondents said that aquatic revenues support their aquatic operation. Nearly three-quarters (72.3 percent) said that aquatic facilities are subsidized via funding from other sources. (See Figure 38.)

Respondents from private, for-profit organizations were the most likely to report that their revenues supported their aquatic operations. More than a quarter of these respondents (27.7 percent) said they supported aquatics with revenue, while 60.8 percent said aquatics are subsidized via other funding. By contrast, 18.2 percent of public organizations and 18.5 percent of private nonprofits said their revenues supported aquatic operations, with 74.2 percent and 73.4 percent, respectively, reporting that they subsidized aquatics via funding from other sources.

Aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to report that they supported their aquatics with revenues. Some 44.1 percent of these respondents support their aquatics with revenues. They were followed by YMCAs, where 25.7 percent of aquatic respondents support aquatics with revenues. Camp respondents were the least likely to support aquatics with revenues. Only 6.3 percent of aquatic respondents from camps said their revenues supported their aquatics.

Likewise, aquatic respondents from camps were the most likely to report that their aquatics were subsidized by funding from other sources. Some 82.3 percent of aquatic respondents from camps said aquatics were subsidized. They were followed by colleges, where 76.6 percent said aquatics were subsidized.