Parks, playgrounds and playing fields could be given up by Carmarthenshire Council in the drive to support efficiency savings of at least £31million over the next three years.
The alternative is to more than double the majority of charges to clubs and organisations using the facilities to erase the costly burden of maintenance.
Bowls, rugby, football and cricket clubs currently lose the council more than a quarter of a million pounds annually when income is balanced against maintenance costs.
The county’s executive board was told by the director of technical services, Richard Workman, that non-statutory leisure services would require a different delivery solution because of Welsh Government funding cuts and the challenge of finding efficiency savings.
Mr Workman said the community transfer of leisure playing areas to town, community councils and community groups could help give them greater control.
The council is looking for expressions of interest from local people and community groups meeting certain criteria.
They would have to be community-led with strong links with the community and sporting organisations and local teams, with local people controlling the organisation’s decision making process.
Initial meetings have been held with a number of interested parties following the increase in sporting charges set out by the council last year.
Head of Property Services, Phil Lumley, in a report to the Executive Board, said with no asset transfers a new charging regime would have to be proposed to recover the costs associated with maintaining the authority’s sports facilities involving rugby, football, cricket and bowls. They needed to ensure a neutral cost by 2016-17.
Mr Lumley said the deficit between cost and income for 2013-14 was predicted to be £264,000.
One of the reasons he identified for such a high deficit was that some facilities, like bowling greens, had few users but high maintenance costs.
Leisure centres are presently unaffected.
County executive board member for leisure services Cllr Meryl Gravell said: “Non statutory services like leisure facilities have to become self-sufficient if they are to continue because of the dire economic crisis facing all authorities. The alternative is to give facilities over to communities or groups who are able to demonstrate they can manage them to the benefit of the communities themselves.
“We have been told in Carmarthenshire to expect to have to make savings of at least £7.4 million next year; £10.4million the year after and £13.3 the year after.”
Dafen Weather Forecast