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Feature Article - June 2010


What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

The fact that college and university respondents were the least likely to report that they were concerned about the effect of the economic downturn on their facilities may be mirrored in their reporting on revenue changes for 2008 to 2009. Among respondents from all facility types, those from colleges and universities were the least likely to report that their revenues had dropped in that time period. Still, 15.5 percent of respondents from colleges and universities reported a decrease in revenues from 2008 to 2009.

The situation for respondents from schools and school districts appeared to be difficult. While more than half report stable revenues for 2009 and 2010, very few are expecting to see an increase. In 2009, 15.3 percent of schools respondents said their revenues increased, while 57.7 percent reported their revenues remained stable. In 2010, only 9.8 percent are expecting an increase, while 52 percent expect their revenues to remain the same as the previous year. Of course, schools are primarily funded through taxes—many through property taxes, which have taken a hard hit due to the skyrocketing foreclosure rates.

And, in fact, while health clubs were the most likely to report a decrease in revenues from 2008 to 2009, with 38.7 percent indicating their revenues had dropped in that time frame, in the next two years, respondents from schools and school districts are more likely than other respondents to expect decreasing revenues. In 2010, 38.2 percent of respondents from schools expect their revenues to fall; and in 2011, 40.4 percent expect revenues to fall. This is despite the fact that the majority of respondents are expecting improvement in 2011.

When it comes to increasing revenues in 2010 and 2011, health clubs and YMCAs are most likely to be expecting a rise. In 2010, 58.1 percent of YMCAs and 52.7 percent of health clubs expect their revenues to increase over 2009; and in 2011, 66.2 percent of YMCAs and 59.7 percent of health clubs expect growth.

When it comes to operating expenditures, the relatively bleak expectations of last year's respondents did not hold this year. Last year, respondents were expecting their operating expenditures to drop 13 percent from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2009. In fact, this year's respondents reported an increase of about 5 percent in 2009. (See Figure 11.) That said, they are anticipating a drop of 4.5 percent in fiscal 2010, with a slight recovery of about 3 percent in 2011, though not to the same level as 2009.

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