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Feature Article - June 2018
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2018 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look At What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from parks and recreation organizations were the most likely to report that they had partnered with outside organizations, while those from health clubs were the least likely to form partnerships. Some 95.8 percent of park respondents, 95.1 percent of Ys and 86.2 percent of school respondents said they had formed partnerships, compared with 69.2 percent of health clubs. (See Figure 9.)


As usual, respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they had partnered with many of the different types of organizations included in the survey. Of the various market segment groups, Ys were the most likely to partner with local schools (87.7 percent of Ys had partnered with local schools), nonprofit organizations (80.2 percent), corporate and local businesses (67.9 percent), other Ys (51.9 percent), the military (34.6 percent), and the federal government (22.2 percent).

Respondents from parks were the most likely to report that they had partnered with local government, with 67.4 percent of park respondents reporting they had formed such partnerships. They were also more likely than others to partner with state government (37.3 percent). Respondents from health clubs were the most likely to have partnered with health care or medical facilities (41.5 percent) and other private health clubs (10.6 percent). Finally, respondents from colleges and universities were the most likely to indicate that they had partnered with other colleges and universities, with 60 percent indicating they had formed such partnerships.

When it comes to the age groups primarily served by their facilities, the largest number of respondents indicate that they reach all ages. (See Figure 10.) Some 43.2 percent of respondents said their facilities are meant primarily for an all-ages audience. Some 17.4 percent said they primarily reach children ages 4 to 12, and 16.6 percent mainly serve adults ages 19 and up. Much smaller numbers of respondents reach more specific audiences, including teens age 13 to 18 (10.6 percent of respondents named this as their primary audience), college students (9.3 percent), seniors ages 65 and up (2.6 percent), and infants and toddlers younger than 4 (0.3 percent).


When the primary audience is looked at through the lens of specific facility types, it comes as no surprise to find that certain types of facilities are more likely to serve specific audiences than others.

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they serve all ages, with 55.6 percent indicating that this is their primary audience. They were followed by parks (54.9 percent), and community centers (48.1 percent).

Children ages 4 to 12 are most likely to be the primary audience for camp respondents, 30.6 percent of whom said they primarily reach children. They were followed by parks (26 percent) and community centers (23.6 percent).

Adults from 19 to 64 years old are most likely to be the primary audience for health club respondents. Nearly three-quarters (71.2 percent) of health club respondents said they primarily reach adults. They were followed by Ys, at 22.2 percent.

Teens are most likely to be the primary audience for school respondents. Some 54 percent of schools said they primarily reach teens. They were followed by camps (21.2 percent).

College students are obviously most likely to be the primary audience for colleges and university respondents, 83.4 percent of whom said this was their main audience. Health clubs are more likely than other facility types to reach seniors, with 10.6 percent naming this as their primary audience. Finally, community centers are more likely than others to have an audience of infants and toddlers (1.9 percent said this was their primary audience).

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