SeaWorld Entertainment has disappointing second quarter

Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2017 9:58 AM | Contributed by Jeff

SeaWorld reported Tuesday that the number of U.S. vacationers and international visitors to its locations dropped by 3.8% to 8.93 million in the first half of 2017, compared to a year earlier. The company said its reputational crisis and "competitive pressures" took a toll. Admissions revenue and in-park spending per visitor also fell 2.1% and 0.7%, respectively, in the first half.

Read more from USA Today.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:16 PM

and there's your answer as to what's going on with the prior article about the investment bankers.

I'm going to alter my prior statement, and say that with the huge write-down of the Orlando assets, they may very well be planning on selling all of the company, but cleaving it into two parts. The Busch parks separately, without the Sea baggage. Although, with a huge drop in the stock price today, could be an interesting short term play. :)

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:40 PM
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:24 PM

I don't have the full text of the press release, but the USA today article states "The company recorded a second-quarter net loss of $176 million, largely attributable to a $269 million write-down in the value of the company's SeaWorld Orlando location. That's a huge amount, far greater I assume than the value of the "Shamu" stadium, so it's not an accounting impairment/abandonment of that facility.

Considering the age of that park, and how long ago the big theaters/exhibits were put in (and depreciated by now), that's a huge write-down. One that I can't actually get my head around. Unless.... they already have received offers of interest, at a reduced price, and they are in final discussions to take that deal. At that point, values are known and write-downs must be taken on the books, even if the sale hasn't happened yet.

ETA: I missed that the CFO left earlier this month. That's ALWAYS a bad sign, and should have been a "short" indicator. As for the future of the parks, if prices have dropped considerably, I would say that Merlin is now within striking range

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:29 PM
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 12:45 PM

Sad to see what's happening to them. I consider BGW to be one of my very favorite parks and their properties in Orlando (Sea World, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove) were all well above average in my opinion. Even BGT, while not my favorite park, is far from bad in any way.

I'm kind of curious if the "reputational crisis" was kind of overblown and once they gave in and decided to deprecate the whales, it has shifted to more of an identity crisis at this point. With Disney being Disney and with Universal going all in on Harry Potter, there still might be a nice niche for actual thrill rides in Orlando that they can capitalize on. But that'd probably involve different branding and marketing than what they've been doing.

Hoping that whatever happens with the ownership structure, the parks can continue on and not have their experience compromised for the next quarterly report. They've all already weathered the storm from Budweiser to InBev to private equity and back to being public. What's next?


-Matt

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 5:03 PM
Jeff's avatar

So they're indicating that the problem areas are San Diego and Orlando, which makes sense. I can't commentate on San Diego, but here in Orlando, to say that the marketing is completely inadequate doesn't even cover it. Mako was a slam dunk of an attraction that made a mark on the skyline. After years of me complaining that they couldn't compete by not introducing new stuff, they didn't sell the new stuff.

The conservation effort in particular is totally undersold. No one knows that's going on, and I only do because I worked in corporate for a year. If they worked those stories into the mainstream, and they're happening continuously, it's relatively inexpensive marketing. Hell, that's the point I've been making for years... no one would give a damn about whales in general were it not for SeaWorld raising awareness for decades.

Word on the street is that something big and exciting is going to happen soon. I also hear that Manby feels like the bleeding has at least stopped. If a sale is in the cards, yeah, it's probably a done deal. If there is no sale, then there's a bigger picture pivot.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 10:23 PM

Jeff said:

The conservation effort in particular is totally undersold. No one knows that's going on, and I only do because I worked in corporate for a year. If they worked those stories into the mainstream, and they're happening continuously, it's relatively inexpensive marketing. Hell, that's the point I've been making for years... no one would give a damn about whales in general were it not for SeaWorld raising awareness for decades.

A million times this. Their conservation and rescue efforts are enormous, but they have no clue how to leverage them to change the conversation. The Sunday morning shows are a great idea, but they don't have nearly the reach and impact that is needed. Have the science aspects out there and promoted, show that good science comes from SeaWorld and that they're vital to the research. Make it exciting, get the information out there. Counter the negativity with the impact losing SeaWorld would cause to local and international research and rescue in a quantifiable way.


Original BlueStreak64

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017 11:35 PM

Took three generations to Orlando sea world this past fall. Everyone agreed it was the highlight of the parks we visited. Least entertaining part was the whales.

Not from any opposition to the whales, just that it was the least interesting thing there. Everyone left the park wishing we had an extra day. I think the transition to non-whale is easier than they are admitting to themselves

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:02 PM

It won't stop with the whales though (after all dolphins and sea lions are cute, intelligent and "enslaved" as much as whales) PETA will push it to all of the shows, that is where the struggle will be. Take away all the shows and Sea World doesn't have enough to do.

Orlando is in a huge bind because of what Universal is doing, if you did Universal you really couldn't justify spending the entire week there, with Volcano Bay and the soon to come Nintendo area I would argue Universal will become a destination where you can spend a whole week. I know a lot of people who like me used to pair SWO/BGT with Universal, unless SEAS does some serious upgrades they will loose me in Florida (SWO is great but without the shows pales to other seasonal parks and BGW>>BGT)

Last edited by Touchdown, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:04 PM

2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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