Cedar Fair entertains 12.6 million guests, loses Camp Snoopy contract

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Cedar Fair's total attendance was up 3% from 2003 to 12.6 million. Excluding Geauga Lake, attendance was down 1% at the company's amusement parks, and more at its water parks. The company also announced that the new general partner for Mall of America has decided not to renew Cedar Fair's management contract for Camp Snoopy, but that it would not have a "material financial affect" on the company.

Read the press release from Cedar Fair.

Link: PointBuzz

kpjb's avatar
As I read that, the total attendance was up 5%... it was the per cap spending that was up 3%.

So when Geauga is out of the picture, the attendance was down 1%. With it, it's up 5%. That leads me to infer that GL's attendance is only 6% of the total of the seven parks? That's brutal. No wonder they're lowering the entrance fee. They gotta do something.

Yah, not good, still more people than MiAdv, but that park is a bit smaller. World's of Fun even did better.

When I first glanced at the news title I thought that it meant they had lost the Snoopy character rights. That would have been bad as much as they hype all the Peanuts stuff.

Does Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America still have their Tampico Tumbler??

Well, this helps to explain why the stock's been falling the past couple days..
the stock market as a whole is down the past couple days, not just FUN.

I don't have time to do the math but I think kpjb is not using the numbers properly.

Jeff's avatar
The relatively minor drop in the stock price has absolutely nothing to do with this (particularly seeing as how no one would have known anything about it). Besides, the bigger picture is that they made more money this year than last year. That's what counts.

The fact is that despite issuing more units in 2004, it's still trading over $30 and the quarterly distribution has stayed right where it's at.

Back to Bearenstein(sp) Bears?
.. word of the Camp Snoopy deal has been floating around the circles for the past week or two. It's really too bad but when you look at the bottom line, it had little to do with the companies performance overall.
I was talking to someone from Mall of America, may have been a manager, it was about a year ago. I remember her telling me something about a contract with Six Flags. If this were to be true, I don't think Camp Snoopy would suffer, but overall benefit.

I can hear it now "Six Flags Mall of America"

I don't know much about mall management but I can't believe they could find a better operator to run the place. I can only guess that they plan on doing it in house to save on the management fee but that might be trying to bite off more than they can chew.

It will be interesting to keep an eye on Camp Snoopy to see how this affects the operation and quality of the park. I wouldn't be surprised if some day the Cedar Fair phones are ringing again.

I wonder if Mall of America will find a replacement management company, or just elect to manage the "park" themselves. They may believe they've got the expertise to handle it in-house, without paying out a substantial management fee to another company. No evidence of this, just a thought...

While I'm sure CF is disappointed in attendance overall (especially at GL), Jeff is right...they're still making the numbers where it really counts. Revenue, profitability, and stock dividends have grown consistently, with a strong balance sheet. I'm sure the GL acquisition didn't go quite as smoothly in year one as they would have liked, but those things happen. Assuming we have better Summer weather this year, and with the right marketing message, I expect we'll see attendance improve significantly at GL, and return to normal at CP. (Although, if you look at CP's historical attendance levels, 2004 is still within the "normal" range...)

I think it'll be interesting to see what happens to "out of park spending" at CP next year due to the addition of Castaway Bay...


john peck's avatar
Who put the money forward to build the spinning coaster at the Mall of America? I think that thing cost around $4 Mill. or so.

It would be a same if Cedar Fair had to eat that.

OrientExpressKid, the contract is only for management contract for the MOA facility, not the Camp Snoopy rights for the other CF parks.

Also, if I recall correctly, the new management company for the MOA also operates a big mall in Canada (Edmonton) that also has an in door amusement park operated under a generic name. Perhaps this will be switched to match.

Because.............although it was not mentioned, to my understanding the Knott family had exclusive rights for the use of the Camp Snoopy name, and it was they who chose to allow a Camp Snoopy to operate at MOA. When CF acquired Knotts in 1997, they also acquired the rights and have spread the concept to most of their other parks (apart from VF, GL, and MiA.)

This might mean the whole CAMP SNOOPY name disappears from MOA, giving Valleyfair! the ability to have a Camp Snoopy finally.

Time will tell.

Zambezi, do the math and you'll see that the numbers are right. 700,000/11,300,000 = .0619 = 6.2%

Not very much of the big picture. Of course Cedar Point and Knott's together make up 60%, leaving 40% to be split by the other 5 parks.

Would anyone be upset if Snoopy left Cedar Fair all together?
janfrederick's avatar
And be replaced by a happy family of cedar trees? ;)

United Features Syndicate holds the rights to the Peanuts Characters in any form. So it is they who can allow or not allow the use of the characters, not Knotts. KBF, or now Cedar Fair, have purchased rights and have been granted permission for use. Perhaps you mean the "Camp Snoopy" name is strictly for CF, which may or may not be the case. I have no way of finding out.

Believe it or not, Cedar Fair is not one of the top partners who utilize Peanuts. Hallmark, ABC, Paramount, and Proctor And Gamble are a few companies who market Peanuts heavily because of their enduring appeal.

How do I know? I work for Scripps Howard which partly owns UFS.

Jeff's avatar
Blaster: Don't forget about the water parks. They're figured into the big attendance number as well.
^ Obviously I realize it's not like Disney which owns the characters, and Cedar Fair only brings in already existing Peanuts merchandise(for the most part) that you can buy other places as well.

However, based on past news releases I have (which may not be correct), the Knott family signed the rights for use of the Camp Snoopy name for Knott's Berry Farm in 1983, and under those terms, no other park in North America could have a Camp Snoopy in it if it was not Knott's. Hence, the Knott's Camp Snoopy MOA moniker in Bloomington.

When Cedar Fair acquired Knott's those rights transferred to them, to the best of my knowledge, allowing them to create Camp Snoopy at their other parks.

Now that Knott's and later Cedar Fair are no longer managing the MOA location, does the Camp Snoopy name disappear with it? Per the terms of the existing contract, yes. However, somewhere I have a press release that states the terms of the original contract, which I think was due to expire soon regardless. I also think there was some contractual reasons that they could not open a Camp Snoopy at Valleyfair! due to the proximity of the two parks.

I bet MetLife is right up there too! :-)

What does Paramount (Viacom) do with the Peanut license? Is it just via CBS's broadcasting of the specials (and associated advertising), or other stuff too?

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