Feature Article - June 2008
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2008 REPORT ON THE STATE OF THE MANAGED RECREATION INDUSTRY

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


Participation

The third most common issue of concern for respondents across the board was marketing their facilities' offerings and increasing participation. Despite this fact, very few respondents were actually expecting to see the number of people using their facilities decrease between now and 2009.

Fewer respondents in this year's survey were optimistic about growing the level of participation at their facilities. While last year, 66 percent of respondents were anticipating increasing numbers of people using their facilities between 2006 and 2007, this year, only 43 percent reported such an increase. And while only 4.4 percent last year anticipated a decrease in the number of people using their facilities in that same year, this year 6.2 percent actually reported a decrease. Respondents were more likely this year to expect the number of people using their facilities to remain unchanged. About half (50.5 percent) said the number of people using their facilities had not changed between 2006 and 2007, and more than half projected more of the same from 2007 to 2008 (52.7 percent) and from 2008 to 2009 (55.8 percent). (See Figure 17.)

Respondents from YMCAs and health clubs were the most likely to report a decrease in the number of people using their facility between 2006 and 2007. Nearly 11 percent of YMCA respondents said they had seen those numbers decrease, while 9 percent of health club respondents reported a decrease. That said, YMCAs were also more likely than others to have seen an increase in the number of people using their facility, with 45.8 percent reporting an increase between 2006 and 2007. They also are the most likely to expect increases over the next few years. By 2008 to 2009, 60 percent of YMCA respondents are expecting increases in the number of people using their facility.

Respondents from schools and school districts were the most likely to be expecting their numbers to remain even over the next several years, Nearly three-quarters (73.5 percent) said the number of people using their facilities had remained unchanged between 2006 and 2007, and by 2008 to 2009, more than 80 percent are expecting their participation numbers to remain even.

By 2008 to 2009, very few respondents from any category were expecting to see a drop in the number of people using their facilities. No respondents from schools and school districts are expecting a drop that year, and just over 1 percent of college and university respondents, as well as YMCA respondents, said they expected to see decreases in the number of people using their facility that year.