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


Local schools continue to hold the No. 1 spot as the most common type of partner for all facility types. More than six in 10 (63.4 percent) survey respondents said they had partnered with local schools. (See Figure 8.) They were followed by local government (55.9 percent), nonprofit organizations (49.9 percent), colleges and universities (35.5 percent), and state government (33.7 percent). Nearly one-third (33 percent) of respondents also said they partnered with corporations or local businesses.

Respondents from parks and Ys were the most likely to report that they had partnered with outside organizations, while those from camps were the least likely to form partnerships. Some 94.5 percent of parks respondents and the same percentage of respondents from Ys said they had partnered with other organizations, compared with just 73.2 percent of camps. (See Figure 9.)

While Ys and parks were the most likely to partner with any other organization, respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they had partnered with many of the different types of organizations covered by the survey. Of the various respondent types, Ys were the most likely to indicate that they had formed partnerships with local schools (80.8 percent of Ys had partnered with local schools), nonprofit organizations (80.8 percent), health care facilities (60.3 percent), corporate or local businesses (57.5 percent), other Ys (50.7 percent), military (31.5 percent), and private health clubs (11 percent).

Respondents from parks were the most likely to report that they had partnered with local government, with nearly three-quarters (74.9 percent) of park respondents indicating they had formed such partnerships. Respondents from colleges and universities were the most likely to indicate that they had partnered with other colleges (62.4 percent). Those from schools were the most likely to have partnered with state government (45.2 percent). And finally, camp respondents were the most likely to report that they had partnered with the federal government (26.8 percent).

There has been a tendency over the past decade for more facilities to aim at multigenerational audiences, and this is reflected in the survey data. Since 2012, we have asked survey respondents to define the primary age group reached by their facilities and organizations. In that time, the percentage who said they serve all ages has grown from 38.4 percent to 44.7 percent. (See Figure 10.)