Feature Article - June 2019
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2019 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


The top amenities included in respondents' facilities in 2019 include: bleachers and seating (62.5 percent of respondents include them in their facilities); playgrounds (60.9 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (60.1 percent); outdoor sports courts (57.5 percent); concession areas (56.2 percent); natural turf sports fields (55.7 percent); park shelters (55.4 percent); locker rooms (55.3 percent); Wi-Fi services (55.3 percent); and open spaces like gardens and natural areas (54.1 percent). (See Figure 30.)

As is generally the case, there was not a great deal of change in the percentage of respondents whose facilities include various sorts of amenities from 2018 to 2019. However, certain types of amenities saw an increase of three percentage points or more in the past year: park restrooms (up 6 points); park shelters (up 5.3); fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (up 4.9); splash play areas (up 4.1); waterfronts and marinas (up 3.4); bleachers and seating (up 3.2); multipurpose centers (up 3.2); and synthetic turf sports fields (up 3.2).

Looking back five years to 2015, there has been an increase of at least four percentage points in the number of respondents whose facilities include: fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (up 7.4 points); park restrooms (up 6.3); dog parks (up 5.8); multipurpose centers and community centers (up 5.6); park shelters (up 5.5); playgrounds (up 4.9); splash play areas (up 4.9); and bleachers and seating (up 4.4).

Park respondents were more likely than other facility types to include: playgrounds (84.3 percent of park respondents had playgrounds); park shelters (82.5 percent); park restrooms (79.8 percent); walking and hiking trails (70.7 percent); outdoor sports courts (70.6 percent); open spaces such as gardens and natural areas (69.4 percent); bike trails (46.8 percent); skateparks (41.6 percent); dog parks (38.3 percent); fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (35.1 percent); splash play areas (33.3 percent); community gardens (31.1 percent); golf courses (20.6 percent); ice rinks (16.4 percent); waterparks (14.5 percent); and bike/BMX parks (11.4 percent).

Respondents from colleges and universities were more likely than other facility types to include: locker rooms (89 percent); indoor tracks (58.9 percent); synthetic turf sports fields (50.7 percent); and climbing walls (46.6 percent).

School respondents were more likely than others to include: bleachers and seating (78.8 percent); natural turf sports fields (78.1 percent); concession areas (75.2 percent); and outdoor tracks (63.5 percent).

Respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to have fitness centers (89.1 percent) and Wi-Fi services (73.9 percent).

Y respondents were more likely than others to include exercise studio spaces (88.7 percent); indoor sports courts (80.3 percent); classrooms and meeting rooms (73.2 percent); indoor aquatic centers (69 percent); and childcare centers (59.7 percent).

Camp respondents were more likely than others to include: campgrounds (67.6 percent); waterfronts and marinas (62 percent); outdoor aquatic facilities (53.5 percent); challenge courses and ropes courses (43.7 percent); disc golf courses (35.2 percent); nature centers (23.9 percent); skiing and winter recreation areas (11.3 percent); and amusements (4.2 percent).