Feature Article - June 2012
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2012 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Slightly fewer respondents in 2012 reported that their revenues increased in 2011 than the number who predicted such an increase in last year's survey. In 2011, 40.8 percent of respondents projected that their revenues would increase from 2010 to 2011. This year, just 37 percent of respondents reported that such an increase had taken place. This was also a drop from those who saw increasing revenue from 2009 to 2010. (See Figure 10.)


At the same time, a growing number of respondents are reporting that their revenues are expected to increase in the future, and a higher number of respondents are expecting their revenues to remain stable. The number of respondents projecting lower revenues over time has fallen from a high of 24.6 percent who saw dropping revenues from 2008 to 2009 to just 10.8 percent who project such a decrease in the year 2013.

Respondents from camps, YMCAs and health clubs were the most likely to report that their revenues had increased from 2010 to 2011. More than half (55.3 percent) of camp respondents, 47.5 percent of YMCAs and 40.3 percent of health clubs reported that they had seen such increases. In that same time frame, respondents from schools and school districts, health clubs and parks organizations were the most likely to report that they had seen a decrease in revenues. More than a third (36.6 percent) of school respondents, 30.6 percent of health club respondents and 21.8 percent of park respondents reported such a decrease from 2010 to 2011.

Looking ahead, respondents from camps, YMCAs and health clubs also tended to be the most likely to expect further increases in revenue over the next two years. From 2011 to 2012, 60 percent of camps, 55.7 percent of YMCAs and 54.3 percent of health clubs are projecting an increase in revenues. From 2012 to 2013, YMCAs take the lead, with more than two-thirds (67.7 percent) of those respondents projecting a revenue increase. They are followed by camps (where 61.5 percent of respondent project an increase) and health clubs (58.5 percent).

On the other hand, respondents from schools and school districts are overwhelmingly the most likely to expect their revenues to fall over the next two years. Well over a third (38.6 percent) of school respondents said they expect revenues to drop in 2012, and more than a third (35 percent) also expect to see decreasing revenues in 2013. At the same time, the number of respondents from schools who are anticipating an increase in revenues falls from 14.5 percent projecting an increase in 2012 to 13.1 percent expecting an increase in 2013.

On the other hand, respondents overall are expecting their annual operating expenditures to rise by 14.3 percent from 2010 to 2013. In one year alone, respondents reported an increase of 8.8 percent in actual (not projected) operating expenditures, from $1,427,000 in 2010 to $1,552,000 in 2011. (See Figure 11.) Operating expenditures for fiscal 2011 were well above the projected number from last year's survey, of $1,449,000.