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Feature Article - June 2016

2016 State of the Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Challenges & Issues of Concern

While budgets and the economy always hold the top spot as the primary concern for most respondents, there are other issues that can arise to challenge facility managers as they operate and manage recreation sports and fitness facilities. Equipment and facility maintenance has been the top concern for several years running, and 2016 is no exception. Some 56.2 percent of respondents said this is a top concern for them right now. (See Figure 30.)


Staffing jumped back to the No. 2 spot in 2016, with 45.2 percent reporting it is a top concern, up from 42.9 percent in 2015.

No. 3 on the list was marketing and increasing participation, with 40.6 percent indicating this is their top concern, down from 43.9 percent in 2015.

Safety and risk management once again takes the No. 4 spot, with 33.7 percent calling this their top concern, up from 33.4 percent.

Finally, creating new and innovative programming is a top concern for 31.7 percent of respondents.

For the most part, the top current concerns drop off over the next three years, and fewer participants name them as a top issue. Exceptions to that rule in 2016 include: creating new and innovative programming, which increases from 31.7 percent who feel it is a concern now to 35.1 percent who believe it will be a top concern over the next three years; older adult fitness and wellness (14.6 percent vs. 16.9 percent); environmental and conservation issues (13.7 percent vs. 15.5 percent); legislative issues (13.2 percent vs. 16.7 percent); and social equity and access (8 percent vs. 8.1 percent).

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