2016 State of the Industry
A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities
By Emily Tipping
A majority of respondents (87.2 percent) said that they form partnerships with outside organizations. This is up slightly from last year, when 85.6 percent reported forming such partnerships. Many organizations utilize such partnerships as a way to extend their programming capabilities and reach within their community, or as a way to share facilities or increase funding potential.
The most common partners for all facility types were local schools. Nearly six in 10 (59.5 percent) of respondents said they had partnered with local schools. They were followed by local government (51.9 percent), nonprofit organizations (45.7 percent), colleges and universities (32.1 percent), and corporations or local businesses (31.7 percent). (See Figure 8.)
Respondents from urban and suburban communities were more likely than their rural counterparts to report that they formed partnerships outside of their organization. Some 88.4 percent of urban respondents and 88.2 percent of suburban respondents had done so, compared with 85.2 percent of rural respondents.
Suburban respondents were more likely than those from urban or rural areas to report that they had partnered with local schools (62.5 percent of suburban respondents had partnered with schools); local government (55.4 percent); and corporate or local businesses (35.8 percent). Urban respondents were more likely than those from the suburbs or rural communities to form partnerships with nonprofit organizations (51 percent); colleges and universities (42.4 percent); state government (34.4 percent); YMCAs (26.2 percent); health care or medical facilities (24.4 percent); federal government (21.9 percent); military (14.1 percent); and private health clubs (6.6 percent).
Respondents from YMCAs, parks and schools were the most likely to report that they had partnered with outside organizations, while those from health clubs were the least likely to partner. Some 98.3 percent of YMCA respondents, 95.3 percent of parks respondents, and 90 percent of school respondents had formed such partnerships, compared with just 71.4 percent of health clubs. (See Figure 9.)
Just as they were the most likely to form any kind of partnership, respondents from YMCAs were the most likely to partner with most of the types of facilities considered. They were more likely than other facility types to partner with local schools (80.2 percent of YMCA respondents had partnered with local schools); nonprofit organizations (79.3 percent); healthcare or medical facilities (69 percent); corporate or local businesses (56.9 percent); other YMCAs (56 percent); military (36.2 percent); and the federal government (24.1 percent). Respondents from parks were more likely than others to partner with local government, with 70.4 percent of parks respondents having formed such partnerships. Colleges and universities were more likely than others to report that they had partnered with other colleges and universities (57.4 percent); and likewise, health clubs were more likely to report that they had partnered with other health clubs (9.4 percent). Schools and school
districts were the most likely to have formed partnerships with state government, with 44.3 percent of school respondents indicating they had formed such partnerships.
When it comes to the age groups served by their facilities, the largest number of respondents are not specific. Some 41.1 percent said their primary audience is all ages. (See Figure 10.) Nearly a fifth (18.4 percent) said adults between 19 and 64 years old are their primary audience, and 17.7 percent said children ages 4 to 12 are their main audience. Fewer respondents serve college students only (10.1 percent), and less than one in 10 said their primary audience was made up of teens between 13 and 18 years old (9.7 percent), seniors 65 and older (2.8 percent), or infants and toddlers (0.3 percent).
When it comes to facility types, some were more likely to serve specific audiences than others. YMCA and parks respondents were the most likely to report that they served all ages. Some 57.8 percent of Y respondents and 55.7 percent of parks respondents said they served an all-ages audience. Colleges were the least likely to serve all ages, with just 3 percent indicating that this was their primary audience.
Children ages 4 to 12 were most likely to be the primary audience for camp respondents (33.6 percent) and parks respondents (26.1 percent), and least likely to be the primary audience for colleges (0.4 percent).
Adults ages 19 to 64 were most likely to be the primary audience for health club respondents, 56.3 percent of whom said this was their primary audience. They were followed by community sports and recreation centers, where 23.5 percent said this was their primary audience. Adults were the least likely audience for school respondents, though 5.4 percent said this was their primary audience.
College students, obviously, were the most likely to be the primary audience at colleges and universities. Some 87.7 percent of college respondents said college students were their primary audience. No park, school or YMCA respondents called this their primary audience.
Teens were most likely to be the primary audience for school respondents, more than half (57 percent) of whom said teens between 13 and 18 years old were their primary audience. They were followed by camps, where 18.2 percent of respondents said teens were their primary audience.
Seniors 65 and older were most commonly the primary audience at health clubs. Some 7.8 percent of health clubs said seniors were their primary audience. They were followed by community recreation centers (4.8 percent) and YMCAs (3.4 percent).