Feature Article - June 2016
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2016 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 2016 include: bleachers and seating (59.1 percent of respondents have them in their facilities); playgrounds (58.8 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (58.7 percent); outdoor sports courts (57.6 percent); locker rooms (56.6 percent); Wi-Fi services (55.3 percent); open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (55.3 percent); concession areas (54.6 percent); natural turf sports fields (53.6 percent); and park shelters (53.2 percent). (See Figure 27.)

There was an increase of at least 2 percent from 2014 to 2015 in the number of respondents whose facilities included: playgrounds, Wi-Fi services, open spaces, park shelters, walking and hiking trails, bike trails, skateparks, fitness trails or outdoor fitness equipment, disc golf courses, and dog parks.

Parks respondents were more likely than other facility types to include: playgrounds (83.7 percent of parks respondents had playgrounds); park shelters (83.5 percent); park restrooms (77.3 percent); outdoor sports courts (70.9 percent); community centers (55.5 percent); bike trails (50.1 percent); skateparks (41 percent); dog parks (34.8 percent); community gardens (32.9 percent); disc golf courses (31.4 percent); fitness trails or outdoor fitness equipment (30.9 percent); splash play areas (29.4 percent); golf courses (21.5 percent); waterparks (18.2 percent); ice rinks (17.8 percent); and bike or BMX parks (10.3 percent).

Respondents from colleges were more likely than others to include indoor sports courts (78.5 percent of college respondents included them); indoor walking/running tracks (52.3 percent); and synthetic turf sports fields (43.5 percent).

School respondents were more likely than other facilities to include: bleachers and seating (77.8 percent of school respondents had bleachers and seating); natural turf sports fields (71 percent); concessions (67.9 percent); and outdoor tracks (66.1 percent).

Respondents from health clubs were more likely than other types of facilities to include Wi-Fi, with 75 percent of health clubs indicating they offered Wi-Fi at their facility.

YMCAs were more likely than other facility types to include: locker rooms (89.7 percent of YMCA respondents included them); fitness centers (88.8 percent); exercise studios (84.5 percent); childcare facilities (72.4 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (71.6 percent); and indoor aquatic facilities (69.8 percent).

Camp respondents were more likely than other facility types to report that they had: open spaces and natural areas (75.4 percent of camp respondents included open spaces); walking and hiking trails (74.6 percent); waterfront or marinas (54.3 percent); campgrounds (52.2 percent); challenge courses or ropes courses (47.8 percent); climbing walls (43.5 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (43.5 percent); nature centers (28.3 percent); and skiing or winter recreation (13.8 percent).

Finally, community centers were more likely than others to include amusement, with 6 percent of community recreation center respondents saying their facilities included them.


Some 42.7 percent of all respondents reported that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next several years. (See Figure 28.) Camp respondents were the most likely to have such plans, with 56.5 percent indicating they would be adding features. They were followed by parks (53.8 percent) and community recreation centers (41.6 percent). Respondents from health clubs were the least likely to be planning to add features, with 15.6 percent reporting they had such plans.