Sunday, May 15, 2011

Overview: Swimming's effect on the economy

Because there are so many different aspects to the sport of swimming- hosting meets, practices, recreational facilities, competitive teams, different swimming sports, sponsors, etc, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how it effects the economy. Overall, the money generated through recreational pools and swimming special events generates a lot of income, but the staffing of pools and upkeep is what costs the most for facilities and communities. Meets around the country cause increased spending in different cities, which leads to a better local economy in those cities. Lifeguards also lead to a stimulated economy by having disposable incomes that are able to be spent on material goods and services rather than fixed expenses, thus improving local businesses. All of these factors combine together to prove the beneficial nature of the sport of swimming for both local and national economies.

swimming economy

Swimming and coorperate gain

An article in Parks & Recreation Magazine states that, "This study illustrates the overall benefit to supporting your program because corporations need to feel a direct, and sometime indirect, relationship with you. In most areas of the country, swimming does not have the marketability that football, basketball, or many other sports have. As a primarily individual sport, it is hard to sell to a corporate executive the need to support your pool unless they have an immediate relationship with swimming. An economic-impact study says "yes --swimming does bring money into our community, and it does impact our local businesses." To find out how much of an economic impact a quality event may impact your community, contact your chamber of commerce." Swimming struggles greatly with the ability to be identified by supporters. This could be the reason why viewers see commercials for football, baseball, or soccer on a regular basis on TV but it would be a rarity to see anything about swimming. For this reason, it is difficult for swimming teams to get any recognition or support from corporate sponsorships. Because of this swimming does not usually impact the economy on a larger scale, but instead mostly only on the local scale.

Moler, Chris, and Brey Wood. "The Financial Impact of Hosting Competitive Swimming." Parks & Recreation Nov. 1997: 70. EBSCO. Web. 12 May 2011.

Recreational facilities vs. Competitive pools

In recent years, a transition has begun away from traditional competitive lap pools and towards recreational pools equipped with slides, zero depth entry, and all sorts of fun toys. The appeal of this type of pool is clear, but it is causing the traditional pools to suffer. Cath Martel, athletics and aquatics manager for Round Rock, explains to Parks & Recreation magazine that "traditional pools that rely on swim team fees and memberships for revenue are no longer doing well. I'm not aware of any competitive pool that makes money. These days there has to be a recreation component. Bobbing around in deep water just isn't exciting and people want more." It is difficult to find a compromise between these two different purposes of pools. They are not even to be kept at the same temperature. Competitive pool are about 77 degrees while recreational facilities stay at about 84 degrees. This makes the struggle for traditional pools to generate income even more difficult. With more people being interested in enjoying recreational pools, it generates much more income for those facilities that may not have been made had a traditional pool been the only option.

Roberts, Rachel. "Pools With a Splash." Parks & Recreation Feb. 2010: 42-46. EBSCO. Web. 12 May 2011.

Income generated for special events

  While the majority of income is generated from practice time, special meets and events can generate large amounts of income for swimming. The following table details the number of athletes, length of stay, daily rate for competing, and the total amount earned for the categories of swimming, synchronized swimming, diving, and water polo. While no event comes close to the $720,000 raised at swimming junior nationals, it can be seen that these competitions make huge amounts of money for the sport. These events are usually held in cities across the country, therefore requiring the competitiors to travel. This makes them have to spend money on food, lodging, etc from local businesses in that city. This then brings in money from cities all ocross the country to the local businesses in order to stimulate the economy by bringing in outside money other than that already present in the community. This encourages the economy to be nationwide and move across borders.

Incomes and expenditures of swimming facilities

The subsequent tables illustrate the spending and incomes of average swimming facilities. It includes both recreational and competition pools, thus why the percentage of income for recreation purposes is so high. Note that swim lessons generate 28% of the income- a high percentace in comparison to the other categories. This shows how families are willing to spend a decent amount of money on swimming lessons and therefore stimulate the swimming economy. Also not the overwhelming 56% of costs that are paid to labor and staffing of the pool. As i stated in an earlier post, lifeguarding costs accont for most of a swimming facilities revenue.

Recreation Admissions      56%
Swim Lessons               28%
Aquatic Programs            7%
Group Sales                 7%
Competitive Meets           2%
Labor                                   56%
Utilities                               24%
Benefits                                17%
Maintenance/Repairs                      5%
Advertising/Promotion                    4%
Cost of Sales-F&B                    2%
Insurance                                2%
Other                                    2%
Cost of Sales — Merchandise        1%
Competion Only-indoor              51.2%
Competion Only-Outdoor             57.3%
CompetionRecreation-indoor         84.6%
Competion Recreation-Outdoor       79.8%
Recreation Only-indoor             96.1%
Recreation Only-Outdoor           131.6%

Mendioroz, Randy. "Public Aquatic Facilities: Revenue Producers or Financial Sinkholes?" Swimming World June 2006: 33-34. EBSCO. Web. 12 May 2011.

Synchronized swimming as a source of revenue

While it is often overlooked, it is important to remember that there is more to the swimming world than just competitive racing. Synchronized swimming has many components that positivly impact the economy. Because of the nature of routines preformed by synchronized swimmers, it is necessary to usually rent the entire pool, which according to Parks & Recreation magazine costs about $50 an hour on average. Another important aspect of the sport is the costuming which comes in the form of elaboratly decorated suits. Most of these are custom made and are quite expensive. The purchasing of these suits stimulates small independantly owned businesses. These teams have the same consistency as competitive swim teams when it comes to practice time revenue, but also have the added spending of equipment and accessories.

USA Synchro. Web. 16 May 2011.

Cost of competitive swimming

There is no arguing the fact that the most consistant source of income for swimming facilities is from swim teams and swim lessons. Cris Moler of Parks & Recreation magazine states that, "Believe me, we have heard it all. But the reality is a well-organized competitive swim program can impact your bottom line in positive nature and provide a host of other benefits to your aquatic program." These competitive teams provide a steady income for pools by using lanes that may go unused otherwise. Most teams practice 11 months a year, and pools charge approximatly $4.00 to $10.00 per lane per hour. These costs can add up quicly with the use of multiple lanes for several hours. These fees come in on a regular basis, and are even boosted if meets or events are held at the pool.

The financial benefit of hosting competitive swimming