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Feature Article - June 2017

Aquatics

A Look at Trends in Aquatic Facilities


From 2016 to 2018, respondents from Ys projected the greatest growth rate for their aquatic operating expenditures. Y respondents with aquatics projected their aquatic operating expenses would grow by 34.3 percent, to a total of $748,000 in 2018. Also expecting increases of greater than 10 percent were community sports and recreation centers (up 20.3 percent to an average of $486,000), and colleges and universities (up 18.4 percent to an average of $296,000). Smaller increases to average aquatic operating expenses were expected among respondents from parks, who expect their aquatic costs to rise 9.2 percent to $737,000 on average in 2018, as well as camps (up 6.9 percent to $108,000) and health clubs (up 4 percent to $313,000). School respondents projected no change to their average aquatic costs from 2016 to 2018.

Just under a third (32 percent) of aquatic respondents said their aquatic revenues had increased from 2015 to 2016, up from 30.8 percent who said they had seen an increase from 2014 to 2015. At the same time, the number of aquatic respondents whose aquatic revenues had decreased fell to 10.2 percent reporting a decrease from 2015 to 2016 (11.6 percent reported a decrease from 2014 to 2015).

Looking forward, a growing number of aquatic respondents expect their aquatic revenues to rise, while the percentage projecting a decrease falls slightly. From 2016 to 2017, 33.6 percent of aquatic respondents are expecting aquatic revenues to increase, and 6.2 percent projected a decrease. From 2017 to 2018, 34.8 percent expect aquatic revenues to rise, while 4.7 percent expect them to fall.

From 2015 to 2016, aquatic respondents from health clubs were the most likely to report an increase in aquatic revenues. Some 40.9 percent of health club respondents said their aquatic revenues had increased from 2015 to 2016. They were followed by those from parks, 37.5 percent of whom reported an increase, and community sports and recreation centers, 31.3 percent of whom saw an increase. Schools were the most likely to report that aquatic revenues had fallen from 2015 to 2016, with 16.1 percent of school respondents indicating they'd seen a decrease.

Looking forward, parks, Ys, and community sports and recreation centers were the most likely to be expecting increases to their aquatic revenues. From 2016 to 2017, 40.4 percent of parks, 39.2 percent of Ys, and 32.8 percent of community centers said they expect aquatic revenues to increase. From 2017 to 2018, 47.8 percent of Ys, 42.4 percent of community centers and 39.1 percent of parks are expecting an increase.

After holding steady for several years, the percentage of aquatic respondents who assert that their aquatic revenues support their aquatic operations grew slightly in 2017. More than one-fifth (21.4 percent) of aquatic respondents said their facility generates the revenue to support its operations, up from 19.7 percent in 2016. Another 69.9 percent said their aquatic facilities are subsidized via funding from other sources (See Figure 40.)

Respondents from private, for-profit organizations were the most likely to report that they were able to support their aquatic operations with revenues from their aquatic facilities. Some 29.1 percent of for-profit respondents said their aquatic facilities were supported via revenues, while 59.5 percent said their aquatic operations were subsidized with funding from other sources.

Public and private nonprofit organizations were much more likely to rely on other funding to subsidize their aquatic operations. Among public organizations, 21.4 percent said their aquatic facilities were supported via revenues, while 70.1 percent said they were subsidized with revenue from other sources. And for private, nonprofit organizations, 19.3 percent said aquatic operations are paid for via revenues, while 72.3 percent said their aquatic operations were subsidized with funding from other sources.

Respondents from health clubs were the most likely to report that they earned their aquatic operating costs back via aquatic revenues. Some 37 percent of health club respondents said they cover the cost of their aquatic operations with revenues, while 56.5 percent said those costs were subsidized. They were followed by respondents from Ys, 25 percent of whom said aquatic operations were covered by revenues, while 68 percent said those costs were subsidized, and park respondents 22.7 percent of whom said costs were covered via revenues, while 68.9 percent said those costs were subsidized.

Respondents from camps, colleges and community sports and recreation centers were the most likely to subsidize their aquatic operations with funding from other sources. Some 84.9 percent of camp respondents, 76.3 percent of college respondents and 75 percent of community center respondents said their aquatic operating expenditures were subsidized with funding from other sources.

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