Recreation & Leisure Industry

This section provides Recreation & Leisure Industry links and resources to assist your startup or small business.

View our related business reports: Sports & Fitness and Travel & Tourism.

COVID-19 Industry Impact

A hit to the global economy, the pandemic took a toll on the Recreation & Leisure Industry as a result of the mandated closures of nonessential businesses to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While a large portion of these businesses rely on a live audience or working in close proximity with customers, some businesses were innovative and found ways to utilize technology to adapt. A shift from in-person to virtual meant an increase of technology-based businesses among the most resilient in this sector. Here is a look at some of the impacts of COVID on this sector.

Reopening Guidelines

As of May 28, 2021 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports 50.3% of the U.S. population had received at least one dose and 40.5% were fully vaccinated. During Spring, many communities started resuming operations. Although many recreation and leisure activities lend themselves well to social distancing protocols, for those that are more engaging activities local municipalities may offer guidelines for reopening specific businesses. At the national-level there are trade-specific and CDC guidance.

 Be sure to visit SBDCNet’s Small Business Reopening Guide.

 Recreation & Leisure Industry Overview

The Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey reports that in 2019 Americans spent 5.19 hours on leisure and sports activities. The recreation and leisure industry covers a broad spectrum of businesses. For this guide we focus on select establishments from the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation sector which has about 140,000 establishments with an estimated annual revenue of about $265 billion according to First Research.

Recreation & Leisure Industry Resources

Recreation & Leisure Industry Data

Family Entertainment Centers




Spectator Sports


Recreation & Leisure Industry Associations

Recreation & Leisure Industry Publications

Trending Topics

Additional Resources

Already in business or thinking about starting your own small business? Check out our various small business resources:

Remember, you can also receive free professional business advice and free or low-cost business training from your local Small Business Development Center!

Photo by Hayden Walker on Unsplash