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


In light of the decreases seen in operating expenditures, it should come as no surprise that a majority (90.3 percent) of respondents have taken myriad actions aimed specifically at reducing their costs. The most common action taken was improving energy efficiency. More than half (58.6 percent) of respondents said they had taken measures to improve energy efficiency at their facilities. Slightly less than half (49.8 percent) reported that they had cut back on staff, and 43.1 percent said they had increased fees. More than a third (39.5 percent) had put their construction or renovation plans on hold. (See Figure 13.)

Respondents from YMCAs and camps were the most likely to indicate they had taken action to reduce operating expenditures. Some 95.1 percent of YMCAs and 91 percent of camps had done so. On the other hand, colleges and universities were most likely to report they had not taken any action to reduce expenditures, though a majority (84.7 percent) said they had taken some action.

YMCAs were the most likely to report that they had taken measures to improve energy efficiency (70.7 percent), reduced staff (58.5 percent) or increased their fees (56.1 percent). Respondents from colleges and universities were the least likely to have taken these measures.

While nearly half (46.8 percent) of camp respondents indicated that they had put construction plans on hold, only a little more than a quarter (26.4 percent) of colleges and universities had done so.

Schools and school districts were the most likely to indicate they had cut programs or services (37.6 percent) or closed facilities entirely (10.1 percent). Not surprisingly, health clubs, where these measures would have a detrimental effect on revenues, were the least likely to have cut programs or services (though 20.5 percent said they had) or closed facilities (none had closed facilities).

Community and private sports and recreation centers were the most likely to cut operating hours (29.5 percent). And camps (12.2 percent) and parks respondents (12.1 percent) were the most likely to report that they had shortened their season of operation.