SportsField Management magazine recently completed multiple surveys of its audience. Thank you to all those who participated. While the results are only the portion of our readership that responded to our recent surveys, the responses help provide a snapshot of industry trends. The results and some corresponding analyses – including comparison to 2020 survey results – are presented here.
As we have seen, sports field management industry professionals hold a variety of job titles. We probably could have added even more options to the survey, but the results paint a solid picture of our survey respondents. Predictably, the majority of respondents hold the title of sports field manager, parks superintendent, or as a director of their field/facility. The number of respondents identifying as parks superintendent is up slightly from 2020 (from 13% to 17%), while the number indicating they are director of fields and grounds is down slightly (22% to 16%). Other categories saw minimal changes in overall percentage, and coaches, athletic directors and administrators in our audience continue to be well represented.
We did not ask this question three years ago, and found the results to this question interesting, as the bulk of respondents indicated between 1 and 5 employees in their organization and 50-plus (with other options being fairly even). This is most likely due to an interpretation of the question itself, as it is possible that those in the 50-plus category are counting their entire organization as a whole, while others might only be counting their crew or those handling field and facilities management. For example, those who work for a K-12 school or a college/university are obviously part of a much larger organization, but only a small portion of those have similar tasks. Future surveys will drill down into this topic further to provide better analysis of the number of personnel directly impacting each organization’s fields, facilities and grounds management.
As with the range of job titles in this industry, this survey result also shows the wide range of hats worn by our respondents. The results also show that most respondents have duties that extend well beyond the athletic field/playing surface into grounds maintenance, leaf removal, snow removal, facility maintenance and even oversight of supporting stadium personnel. Interestingly enough, the same percentage of respondents in 2020 (84%) indicated that they are responsible for landscape/grounds maintenance, and those responsible for leaf removal, snow removal, tree care and garbage/recycling are all within 3% of the results for those categories from three years ago. However, we have seen increased numbers in those responsible for off-field stadium maintenance (from 41% to 46%), off-field amenities (28% to 39%) and other indoor facilities (16% to 22%), which could indicate either a bigger seat at the table or, more likely, roles that have expanded out of necessity.
The results of this survey are fairly consistent with past surveys, indicating that our readership skews slightly older – with 94% of respondents over the age of 35.
This response rate highlights that SportsField Management readers are in decision-making and leadership roles.
More so than the breakdown of the types of equipment survey respondents plan to purchase in the next year, the biggest takeaway with this survey question is that each category is up significantly over the same category in 2020. In several categories, results are 15% to 20% higher than in 2020. For example, riding mowers were the highest category in 2020, with 42% indicating an intention to purchase (compared to 64% this year). That said, given the uncertainty that was 2020, the fact that sports field management professionals intend to spend more on equipment during the next year is not exactly a shock.
This question was new this year, but the result once again shows the wide range of duties of those in our audience and the fact that our readers are increasingly involved with decisions that impact their entire facility.
The adoption of battery-powered equipment continues to rise, as the number of respondents who own or intend to purchase battery-powered equipment is up 3% compared to 2020.
Unlike the equipment buying responses, the results for this survey question are very consistent with 2020 responses, showing that most of these products/supplies are always going to be essential needs.
Building and renovation remains fairly consistent with slight upticks in existing field renovations (up 6% from 2020) and synthetic turf installations (up 10% when compared with 2020).
Overall, the results of this year’s surveys are fairly consistent with past results, but we will continue to delve into other topic areas with additional surveys in the coming months. If you did not participate in the surveys listed above, and would like your voice heard, please email John Kmitta at email@example.com to be included on future surveys and industry panels.