Investor sues SeaWorld Parks, says it lied about reasons for attendance decline

Posted Monday, September 15, 2014 8:39 AM | Contributed by janfrederick

An investor has sued SeaWorld, claiming that the company misled stockholders about the effect last year's "Blackfish" documentary had on attendance. The federal lawsuit, filed Tuesday in California, also accuses Orlando-based SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. of failing to disclose that it "had improperly cared for and mistreated its orca population, causing mental distress" and affecting trainer and audience safety.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Monday, September 15, 2014 8:59 AM

Basing a lawsuit on the "facts" of that "documentary" seems like a sure way to lose.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 9:45 AM

I didn't realize investors were looking for a return on attendance. If attendance is down but overall revenue is up, isn't that a double win?

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Monday, September 15, 2014 10:21 AM

You would think. I couldn't understand the overreaction to the results at all. Yeah, I think they overprice the gate in Orlando, but it's not like there aren't a ton of extreme promotions almost year-round. Not only that, but while Disney and Universal dabble in exclusivity, SEAS has an entire park for it: Discovery Cove. While I think the company needs to make some serious changes, it's hardly doing poorly or backsliding.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 10:46 AM

Any time there is a large shift in stock price of a company, lawyers line up to start suing. They will also use any excuse to try to justify the lawsuit.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 2:18 PM

ShaneDenmark said:

I didn't realize investors were looking for a return on attendance. If attendance is down but overall revenue is up, isn't that a double win?

I would say the double win would be attendance is up and revenue is up even higher.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 7:16 PM

bigboy I disagree. If you can make more money on fewer guests, isn't that a good thing? Less wear & tear on facilities, less cost of goods, etc. but revenue is UP... Where's Gonch? This is his business model!

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Monday, September 15, 2014 9:51 PM

For the consumer, yes, more revenue and less attendance is great. But the park is there to maximize their profit. They want more attendance and even more revenue. There's probably a sweet spot where a balance is achieved, but I would bet that the average financial guru for any particular park would rather push the envelope than hold back and come up short.

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Monday, September 15, 2014 11:25 PM

ShaneDenmark said:

Where's Gonch? This is his business model!

My logic was always that if given the choice, I'd rather serve 10 people at $100 a pop instead of 100 people at $10 a pop.

However, it would be even better to serve 100 people at $100 a pop.

So yeah, there's always a sweet spot and I'd lean towards maximizing the per cap rather than the number of customers. But it would be silly to imply that maximizing both isn't the priority.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:04 PM

I agree that having more revenue with less patrons is nice...but there is a danger. If a segment of your audience stops coming to the park for some reason, you stand far more to lose than if you had a relatively large audience. One unhappy guest out of 100 isn't a big deal. One unhappy guest out of 10 is a big problem.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:06 PM

Then don't make your guests unhappy.

Which is considerably easier when only pleasing 1/10 the customer base.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:16 PM

Unless you make them wait for free food, or hold them to time deadlines.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:20 PM

Or announce that you've partnered with a charity that helps children.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:32 PM

They should partner with WuTang. WuTang's for the children.

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