Moving Through Uncertainty

If you've been with us as a subscriber for a while, you know that every June we bring you this special issue, our State of the Industry Report. Based on an in-depth survey of well over a thousand professionals from parks, recreation, sports and fitness facilities, and now in its 14th year, this report broadly tracks industry trends—everything from budgets and revenues to construction plans, programming trends, staffing information and so much more. We ask folks to tell us how things have gone over the past year, as well as what they expect over the next few years.

This year presented a unique challenge in that respect. The original Industry Report Survey, taken in late January and early February of this year, showed for the most part that respondents across the board—from park district and college recreation directors to health club owners, Y operators, school administrators and more—saw an increasingly strong industry, with growing revenues, increasing plans to build new facilities or fix up old ones and more.

Then a global pandemic turned that data on its ear.

To be sure we're still bringing you valuable information, we took an update survey in May 2020, and nearly 600 respondents provided us with updated information on their expectations around revenues and when their facilities might reopen, as well as actions they had taken, from getting involved in food security for their communities to providing childcare for essential workers and more. We also left one question open-ended, giving respondents a chance to explain the impact on their facilities in more detail.

Some provided a lot and some provided a little. We've quoted these answers throughout the pages here, but perhaps one respondent summed it up best:


In one way or another, I think we all can relate.

But things move forward. We adjust. Facilities have already begun to reopen, and professionals in the industry will innovate and work together to adapt.

So go ahead and turn the page. You'll learn about how things have grown over the past couple of years, and get a quick snapshot of how things were looking in early May.

But before we begin, let me take a moment to thank all of you who took the time to participate in either survey. I can't tell you how much I value the way you continually take time to provide this level of detail on how things are going at your facilities. Thank you!

Be well. Be safe.

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]