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


When it comes to the primary audience served by their facilities, respondents were most likely to report that they reach all ages. Some 43.8% of respondents said their facilities reach an audience of all ages. The next largest groups primarily reach children ages 4 to 12 (18.5%) and adults 19 to 64 (18.2%). Smaller numbers of respondents said their primary audience was made up of college students (8.5%), teens ages 13 to 18 (8.2%), seniors (2.5%), or infants and toddlers (0.2%). (See Figure 10.)

Given the different nature of the programs and services offered by different facility types, it comes as no surprise to find that some are more likely to serve specific audiences (such as college students or adults) than others.

Respondents from Ys were the most likely to report that they serve all ages, with 59.5% indicating that this is their primary audience. They were followed by rec centers (53.4%) and park respondents (53.4%).

Children ages 4 to 12 were most likely to be the primary audience for park respondents, 26.4% of whom said they primarily reach children. They were followed by camps (20.3%) and recreation centers (18.8%).

Adults from age 19 to 64 were the most likely to be the primary audience for health club respondents, with 72.2% indicating this is the main audience they reach. They were followed by Ys (20.9%) and camps (17.6%).

College students, obviously, were most likely to be the primary audience for college and university respondents, 85.4% of whom said this was their main audience. Teens were the predominant audience for schools and school districts (51.8%). And seniors were more likely to be the primary audience at health clubs (8.3%) than other facility types.

Revenues & Expenditures

Since 2012, the percentage of respondents who report that their revenue has increased year-over-year has grown from 39.5%, to 47.5% in 2019. In that same time period, the percentage reporting that their revenue has fallen has decreased, from 14.9% who saw revenues decrease from 2012 to 2013, to 10.7% reporting a decrease in 2019 from 2018. (See Figure 11.)

When the Industry Report survey was conducted, in January 2020, nearly half (49.7%) of respondents were expecting their revenues to increase this year, and more than half (51.5%) said they expected their revenues to increase in 2021. Of course, that was before the COVID-19 crisis led to social distancing measures that required the closing of nearly all facilities across the country. For updated data reflecting the impact of COVID-19, see "COVID-19 Impact: Revenues" on the next page.