Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Community Recreation & Sports Centers


his year, community recreation and sport centers made up 8.1 percent of the Industry Report survey respondents, a substantial number. But though these facilities all call themselves the same thing, they are not uniform.

While more than half (56.4 percent) of community center respondents indicated that they were public organizations, nearly one-quarter (22.7 percent) are private nonprofits, and 19.9 percent are private, for-profit organizations.

A substantial majority (84.9 percent) of community center respondents said they manage three or fewer facilities, with well over half (59.2 percent) managing just a single facility.

The largest number of community center respondents were from the Midwest: Nearly one-third (30.6 percent) were from this region. More than one-quarter (26.1 percent) were from the West, with 16.1 percent coming from the Northeast, 15.5 percent from the South Atlantic, and just 10 percent from the South Central states.

These respondents were most likely to work in suburban areas. Slightly less than half (44.6 percent) said they came from suburban areas. Another 28.8 percent worked in urban centers, and 26 percent worked in rural areas.

These respondents were slightly less likely than others to form partnerships, with 13.9 percent reporting they do not. That said, the majority do collaborate with other organizations. The top partners were local schools (62.2 percent of community center respondents said they work with local schools). Around half said they partner with local government (51.1 percent) or nonprofit organizations (50 percent). Slightly fewer partner with corporate or local businesses (40 percent), and colleges and universities (33.3 percent).

Better Than Average Budgets

Respondents from community centers seemed to perform slightly better in terms of budgets and usage than other facility types. They were slightly more likely than other respondents to report an increase to revenues in 2009 over 2008. Nearly four out of 10 (39.3 percent) community center respondents said their revenues had increased in 2009, versus 37.2 percent of all respondents. (See Figure 58.) They also were less likely than others to report decreasing revenues in all years covered by the study. While more than one-quarter (25.4 percent) said their revenues had decreased in 2009, that number falls in 2010 to 19.1 percent. And in 2011, only 11.3 percent are expecting to see a drop in revenues. Nearly half (47.8 percent) are expecting to see an increase in 2011.