Feature Article - June 2020
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2020 Report on the State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from parks and recreation districts and departments reach the largest population size, serving an average of 142,000, up substantially from 118,600 in 2019. They were followed by recreation centers, at 109,200; Ys (83,310); camps (79,500); colleges (55,550); health clubs (42,970); and schools (30,080). (See Figure 3.)

Respondents were most likely to report from public organizations, such as parks and recreation districts and departments, public universities and school districts. More than seven in 10 (71.7%) respondents said they were with public organizations. (See Figure 4.) They were followed by those working for private nonprofit organizations. Some 19% of respondents represent private nonprofits, such as Ys, Boys & Girls Clubs, JCCs and other similar facilities. Finally, 9.1% of respondents reported from private, for-profit organizations, which includes facilities like health clubs, resorts, waterparks and others.

The largest percentage of respondents were from parks and recreation departments, park districts and similar organizations. Nearly half (47.1%) of respondents said they represented parks. (See Figure 5.) They were followed by respondents from schools and school districts (10.5%); colleges and universities (9.5%); YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs (6.6%); community or private recreation and sports centers (6.5%); and campgrounds, RV parks and private or youth camps (5.7%). Smaller numbers of respondents reported from other types of facilities, including: sports, health, fitness and medical fitness facilities (2.8%); golf and country clubs (2.5%); resorts and resort hotels (1.8%); waterparks, theme parks and amusement parks (1.1%); homeowners associations (0.9%); ice rinks (0.5%); racquet and tennis clubs (0.5%); stadiums, arenas and tracks (0.5%); and corporate recreation and sports centers (0.2%). Another 3.1% of respondents said they work for "other" types of facilities.