Feature Article - June 2015
Find a printable version here

2015 State of the Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


The top amenities included in respondents' facilities in 2015 include: classrooms and meeting rooms (58.8 percent of respondents have them in their facilities); bleachers and seating (58.1 percent); outdoor sports courts for basketball, tennis, etc. (56.2 percent); playgrounds (56 percent); locker rooms (55.4 percent); concession areas (53.2 percent); natural turf sports fields for football, soccer, baseball, etc. (53.1 percent); Wi-Fi services (52.4 percent); open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (52.3 percent); and park shelters such as picnic areas and gazebos (49.9 percent). (See Figure 25.)


Parks respondents were the facilities most likely to include: playgrounds (83 percent of parks respondents included them); park shelters such as picnic areas and gazebos (82.4 percent); park restroom structures (79.3 percent); outdoor sports courts for basketball, tennis, etc. (70.1 percent); bike trails (48 percent); skateparks (39.2 percent); dog parks (32.1 percent); disc golf courses (28.4 percent); fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (27.9 percent); splash play areas (27.3 percent); golf courses (19 percent); ice rinks (17.1 percent); waterparks (16.5 percent); and bike/BMX parks (10.2 percent).

Respondents from camps were the most likely to include: open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (76.4 percent of camp respondents include them); walking and hiking trails (75.9 percent); campgrounds (62.6 percent); waterfronts and marinas (52.3 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (50.6 percent); challenge courses and ropes courses (42.5 percent); climbing walls (38.5 percent); nature centers (25.3 percent); skiing and winter recreation 10.9 percent); and amusements (7.5 percent).

College respondents were the most likely to include: locker rooms (84.8 percent of college respondents include them); indoor sports courts (82.9 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (65.5 percent); indoor tracks (54 percent); and synthetic turf sports fields (42.2 percent).

Schools respondents were the most likely to include: bleachers and seating (71.8 percent of these respondents had them); natural turf sports fields (68.5 percent); concessions (66.7 percent); and outdoor tracks (54.8 percent).

YMCA respondents were the most likely to include: Wi-Fi services (66.9 percent of YMCAs had this amenity); indoor aquatic facilities (64 percent); and childcare areas (58.1 percent).

Health clubs were more likely than other respondents to include: fitness centers (94.6 percent of health clubs have them) and exercise studio rooms (83.8 percent).

Some 42.7 percent of respondents indicated that they have plans to add features to their facilities over the next three years. This is up from 37.6 percent of respondents who had such plans in 2014. (See Figure 26.)


Respondents from parks, camps and YMCAs were the most likely to report that they plan to add features at their facilities over the next three years. More than half (54.4 percent) of park respondents reported having such plans, up from 46 percent in 2014. Nearly half (48.9 percent) of camp respondents have plans, up from 47.9 percent in 2014. And, 41.2 percent of YMCAs have such plans, down slightly from 43.2 percent in 2014. Respondents from health clubs and schools are the least likely to report that they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years, although health clubs saw an increase from 24.1 percent in 2014 to 27 percent this year.

For all facility types, the top 10 planned features include:

  1. Splash play areas (22.5 percent of respondents with plans to add any features plan to add them, down slightly from 22.7 percent in 2014)
  2. Playgrounds (17.2 percent, up from 16.5 percent)
  3. Fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (17.1 percent, not measured in 2014)
  4. Walking or hiking trails (15.9 percent)
  5. Synthetic turf sports fields (15.7 percent, down from 17.8 percent)
  6. Park shelters (15.7 percent)
  7. Bleachers and seating (14.2 percent, up from 14 percent)
  8. Wi-Fi services (13.7 percent, not measured in 2014)
  9. Restroom structures (13.3 percent, not measured in 2014)
  10. Bike trails (13.3 percent, not measured in 2014)

2015 represents the first year including some new features on the list. What were formerly listed as park shelters and restroom structures was divided into two categories, and trails were split into walking/hiking trails, bike trails and fitness trails and outdoor exercise equipment. Wi-Fi services were also added to the list. Interestingly, all of these new additions made the list of top 10 planned features for respondents.