Providing any products or services for leisure pursuits may fall within the scope of the leisure industry.
- government services and facilities (eg. Leisure centres, public swimming pools, public golf courses and sports grounds, holiday play programs, picnic grounds, facilities for sports or hobbies, etc)
- non profit organisations (eg. Sporting clubs, social clubs, hobbies)
- commercial enterprises (eg. Fitness centres, health clubs, manufacturers and suppliers of hobby and sporting supplies and equipment, theme parks, etc)
- sometimes tourism and health industries overlap on the leisure industry. Boundaries are not clearly defined (eg. A scuba dive centre might be considered part of the leisure industry or the tourism industry; or perhaps both).
In developed countries, leisure can be a huge and significant industry, contributing as much if not more than any other industry to a nation’s economy.
As with any large industry, proper management of income and expenditure is essential to sustaining the industry and optimising the quantity and quality of service it can deliver to the public.
The nature, scope and quality of leisure facilities and services will always be limited by funding.
In an ideal world, a leisure manager can concentrate on providing the very best services, and need not be distracted by financial concerns. This is however unrealistic. Funding is a significant concern to most leisure managers.
Funding may come from one or several of the following:
- User Pays
- Government Funded Services
- Funding through Grants, Gifts, Donations
- Fund Raising Activities
- Funding from Sponsors or Advertisers
This is a funding strategy that relies on generating running costs from charges made to the users (eg. a public swimming pool that charges entry fees and uses those entry fees to pay for running costs). Public facilities may budget to break even (no profit) but good management can still be very important , if funding budgets are to be achieved.
This is where government funding partly or fully pays for facilities or services.
Grants, Gifts, Donations
Some people will bequeath money to Leisure facilities or services in their will. Some philanthropic individuals or organisations may also give money to what they consider a good cause. Trusts and various types of philanthropic organisations donate funds in different ways. Some call for submissions; others find worthy causes and make donations without any submission being made.
Some major sporting organisations may also provide funding to support grass roots activities in their field (eg. A national football league may support a local junior football competition).
This method of acquiring funding is more prevalent in some countries than others, and may be more prevalent for some types of facilities or services than others.
Some leisure facilities and services have been fortunate to acquire funding through grants, gifts or donation
This involves funding being provided usually by a commercial organisation, in exchange for some commercial benefit they perceive.
A TV or other media organisation providing funding for a sporting club in exchange for exclusive media rights
A commercial business providing funding in exchange for advertising rights (eg. Billboards at the facility, being able to advertise an affiliation with the sponsored organisation
A business or other organisation may feel they enhance their image as being more charitable, ethical or attractive.
Sponsorship can be a significant source of funding in recreation and sport.
The basis for sponsorship is that a sponsor (eg. a commercial business or public body) will provide funding to an organisation; and receive benefits (eg. promotional benefits), from being seen to be associated with the recreation organisation or sport.
Sponsors usually see their involvement as a financial investment, but as with all financial investments they do not always believe that they get value for money.
If sponsorship is to be ongoing, however, there needs to be a cost benefit which equates with costs to the sponsor.
Sponsorship agreements need to be negotiated in detail, and the details spelt out clearly on paper.
The sponsor and the "sponsored" both need to know clearly what rights and limitations are involved in the sponsorship contract.
BUILDING A BUSINESS OR CAREER IN LEISURE
Success for some may be to get a job; but for others, it may be to be their own boss in their own leisure based business. Either way, this course can greatly enhance your chances of success.
Study alone though is rarely enough to realize your full potential in this, or any industry. Even the best course will only provide a foundation upon which to build a career. The most informed and capable leisure professionals are always going to be people who have three things:
- Knowledge and Skills. This can be achieved through formal study, or informal learning
- Relevant Experience. By seeing and doing things in the industry, you can apply your learning; and that builds a context and relevance for learning that can never be achieved though study alone. It takes time, practice, application and repetition for both theoretical and practical learning to become really useful; and as that happens, you become increasingly useful.
- A positive and appropriate attitude. To be a successful manager today, even in a public job, can often require a certain entrepreneurial flair.
Some students may find business or career opportunities emerge as they progress through this course. We often hear of students being offered work. Being involved in the industry, undertaking projects we give you, and exploring new ideas, can easily lead to developing industry contacts, or finding opportunities that you might not have otherwise seen.
Other students may on graduating, decide to seek employment in an established leisure enterprise; or start their own business.