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Feature Article - June 2017

State of the INDUSTRY

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

By Emily Tipping


As in past years, the largest percentage of respondents were from parks and recreation departments, park districts and similar organizations. Some 41.1 percent of respondents said they worked for parks and recreation. (See Figure 5.) They were followed by respondents from colleges and universities (12.4 percent); schools and school districts (9.9 percent); community or private recreation and sports centers (7.4 percent); YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs (7.0 percent); and campgrounds, RV parks, and youth and private camps (6.6 percent). Smaller numbers of respondents reported from other types of facilities, including: sports, health and fitness clubs, and medical fitness facilities (4.4 percent); golf facilities or country clubs (2.5 percent); resorts and resort hotels (1.6 percent); homeowners associations (1 percent); waterparks, theme parks and amusement parks (0.8 percent); military installations (0.6 percent); churches (0.5 percent); ice rinks (0.5 percent); racquet or tennis clubs (0.5 percent); corporate recreation or sports centers (0.5 percent), and stadiums, arenas and tracks (0.2 percent). Another 2.7 percent of respondents said they work for "other" types of facilities.


Different types of facilities are more typically found in certain areas, with some more prevalent in the suburbs and urban areas, and others being more common in rural areas.

For example, more than three-quarters (76.5 percent) of homeowners association respondents were from suburban communities. Other facility types most likely to be found in the suburbs include: golf facilities and country clubs (58.1 percent); military installations (54.5 percent); health, sports and fitness clubs (53.9 percent); and Ys (52.5 percent).

Respondents from camps and campgrounds, as one might expect, are most likely to be found in rural communities, with nearly three-quarters (74.6 percent) of these respondents indicating that they were located in rural areas. They were followed by resorts and resort hotels, 57.1 percent of which were in rural areas, and schools and school districts (50 percent).

Colleges and universities were the only facility type that was more commonly found in urban areas than in other types of communities. Some 37 percent of colleges were in urban communities.

When it comes to organization type, certain types of facilities are more likely to be managed by public organizations, while others are more likely to be owned by for-profit or nonprofit organizations. Respondents from parks and recreation facilities were the most likely to report that they were with public organizations, with 96.9 percent of these respondents indicating they were public. They were followed by schools and school districts (89.5 percent of which were public organizations), and colleges and universities (64.4 percent).

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to be with private, nonprofit organizations, with 92.6 percent of Ys and similar facilities like JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs indicating they were this type of organization. They were followed by camps and campgrounds (65.8 percent of which were private nonprofits) and golf and country clubs (46.5 percent).

Finally, private, for-profit organizations were most common among resorts and resort hotels, 53.6 percent of which were this type of organization. They were followed by health clubs (52.6 percent).

On average, survey respondents manage 7.4 facilities, which is consistent with past years, when the average has ranged from 6.4 to 7. Well over half (59.5 percent) reported that they manage between one and three facilities. Some 22.4 percent said they manage between four and nine facilities. Another 18 percent said they manage 10 or more facilities. (See Figure 6.)

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