Feature Article - June 2011
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State of the Industry 2011

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

By Emily Tipping

Show Me the Money!

While pundits debate whether the economy is recovering at the proper pace, economic concerns among our survey participants have eased somewhat. Last year, the vast majority, 87.5 percent, indicated that they were concerned about the impact of the economic downturn on their facility. This year, that number has fallen to 84.5 percent. At the same time, the low number of respondents who say they are not concerned at all, 2.6 percent last year, has risen this year to 4.2 percent. (See Figure 9.)

The highest levels of concern were reported by respondents from schools and school districts (88.6 percent were concerned, with 47.7 percent indicating that they were extremely concerned); parks respondents (86.8 percent were concerned, with 37.7 percent extremely concerned); and YMCAs (86.2 percent were concerned, with 35 percent extremely concerned).

Respondents from colleges and universities were the most likely to report that they were not concerned about the impact of the economic downturn on their facilities, though the majority still indicated they were concerned to some degree. Just 7.2 percent of college respondents said they were not concerned at all.

After a year of falling revenue, this year's respondents are beginning to see positive growth again. Last year, 37.2 percent of respondents reported their revenues were higher in 2009 than in 2008, and 35.8 percent said they were expecting 2010 revenues to be higher than 2009. This year's respondents beat that number, with 38.4 percent reporting higher revenues in 2010 than in 2009. Another 38.1 percent said their revenues were the same in 2010 as 2009, and 23.5 percent reported a decrease in revenues for the year.

In 2011 and 2012, respondents expect further improvement, with 40.8 percent projecting an increase in revenues for 2011 and 43.8 percent for 2012. At the same time, fewer are expecting their revenues to drop, with 15.9 percent expecting a drop in 2011 and 11 percent expecting a drop in 2012. (See Figure 10.)