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Feature Article - June 2018

2018 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Revenues & Expenditures

Since 2010, the percentage of respondents who report that their revenues are increasing year-over-year has risen, while the percentage reporting revenues has fallen. From 2010 to 2011, 37 percent of respondents to the 2012 Industry Report said that they had seen revenues increase, while 20.8 percent reported a decrease in revenue.

In 2018, 41 percent of respondents to the survey said that revenues increased from 2016 to 2017, while 11.1 percent reported a decrease. (See Figure 11.)


Looking forward, respondents are even more hopeful, with 45.4 percent expecting an increase to revenues in 2018, and 45.5 percent in 2019, while 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively, project a decrease.

Suburban respondents were more likely to report positive changes to revenues in both 2017 and 2018, while respondents from urban and rural communities were slightly less optimistic. From 2016 to 2017, 44.1 percent of suburban respondents said they expect revenues to increase, compared with 39 percent of rural respondents and 38.3 percent of urban respondents. Similarly, from 2017 to 2018, 49.7 percent of suburban respondents are expecting revenues to increase, compared with 42.1 percent of urban and 42.1 percent of rural respondents.

Looking forward, respondents from urban communities are more optimistic about positive changes to revenues, while rural respondents are not. From 2018 to 2019, 50 percent of urban respondents expect revenues to increase, and just 4.3 percent project a decrease. For rural respondents, 41.6 percent are expecting an increase, while 7.2 percent project a decrease. Suburban respondents are least likely to expect revenues to fall in that time frame. Just 3.5 percent project a decrease, and 46.7 percent expect revenues to increase.

Respondents from camps, Ys and community centers were the most likely to report that their revenues had increased from 2016 to 2017, while those from schools and colleges were the least likely to report an increase. At the same time, health clubs were the most likely to report a decrease in revenues. From 2016 to 2017, 63.1 percent of camp respondents said their revenues had increased (up from 56.7 percent who saw an increase in 2016). They were followed by Ys (53.8 percent of whom reported an increase), community centers (47.6 percent), health clubs (46.9 percent), and parks (44.2 percent). In that same time frame, only 16.3 percent of school respondents said their revenues had increased (down from 21 percent in 2016), while 26.3 percent of college respondents reported an increase. Some 21.9 percent of health club respondents said their revenues had fallen, indicating less stability in revenues.

Looking forward, respondents from camps, Ys, parks, health clubs and community centers were the most optimistic regarding revenue increases, while colleges and schools were the most likely to expect revenues to fall. From 2017 to 2018, 63 percent of camp respondents said they expect revenues to increase, and from 2018 to 2019, 63.6 percent expect an increase. They were followed in 2017-18 by Ys (58.2 percent of whom expect an increase) and parks (51 percent), and in 2018-19 by health clubs (56.5 percent) and community centers (52 percent).

Conversely, from 2017 to 2018, 15.4 percent of college respondents and 12.2 percent of school respondents said they expect their revenues to decrease. And, from 2018 to 2019, 12 percent of school respondents projected a decrease, followed by college respondents (7.6 percent).

After a significant increase in operating expenditures in fiscal 2016, costs have fallen again in 2017, and are expected to rise more steadily over the next two years, though not to the high reported last year. (See Figure 12.) Following a 17.5 percent increase in operating expenditures in 2016, from 2016 to 2017, the average operating expenditures fell 11.9 percent to $1,800,000. This represents a 23.6 percent increase since 2012.


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