Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, I don't know. Back in the late 90's many of us had mixed emotions when Premier/Six Flags gobbled up tons of smaller, regional "mom and pop" amusement parks. We were happy our beloved parks were "saved" from becoming shopping malls and housing developments.....but at the same time were apprehensive about a big corporation taking over. Perhaps Six Flags just prolonged the life for some of these parks for a short time.
I guess what I'm saying is....I'm afraid many parks under the "six flags" name will be sold....rides melted down, etc.
A dark period for the industry? Not at all. Cedar Fair, Paramount Parks and Disney are all having a great time, as are many of the smaller independents. The morons running Six Flags have just made an incredible sequence of errors and pretty much ruined the brand name.
Wow. Where was all this "doom and gloom" when Sis Flags sold their Cleveland property? The overreaction coming from some people is pretty hysterical.
Too add to what Jeff said, many independent parks such as Holiday World, Knoebels, Sant Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and Lagoon are doing quite well as are the smaller park chains such as KennyCorp and Herschend/SDC.
I will say this much. SF sold off SFWoA, there was no *trend*, and asking about other parks being sold off was called "HIGHLY speculative". SF sold off the European parks, same results. Now that SFAW is gone, is it time *yet* to speculate on other parks being sold...there IS what I would be wiling to call a trend at this point...
edit: What I was getting at (not very well, LOL) is that there DOES seem to be a dark period, but that it's *company-specific*, not industry-wide...and also that the SF situation very well MIGHT be calling for the jettisoning of yet more properties. *** Edited 9/15/2005 3:32:48 PM UTC by rollergator***
Agreed, Gator...and I might not have been clear in my post above either. The industry as a whole is not seeing a dark period.. Six Flags? Hell, their dark period began years ago when they started their "build it and they will come" mentality.
Six Flags does better focusing on their flag ship parks and building them up. I don't know why they decided to purchase a bunch of parks and then ignore them while offering reduced customer service. I would imagine attendance dropped at a lot of these locations.
They wanted to be the Mc Donalds of amusement parks with a menu of just roller coasters. The tale of Six Flags will serve as a warning to the amusement industry. There is far more to amusement parks then just roller coaster experiences. Amusement parks that are successful are a dynamic dance of different experiences. Knobels, Disneyland and Silverdollar City are my three favorite examples. There is no end to all the things one can do at these parks.
They maybe more family oriented destinations, but there is something to learn from that. If entire groups of people have nothing to do at your park, how do you hope to compete against the parks that do offer a little more of everything. Amusement parks have always been a family oriented activity. With options available families will flock to more family friendly locations. Six Flags is not family friendly.
Yeah, I'll never get the SFMM "strategy" if you can even call it that. I don't live in SoCal, but I can't imagine that the general opinion of the park isn't any better than it is on this site.
They make a few good decisions here and there. I think the hyper at SFOG is a pretty good idea. I don't see a lot of love for that park here, but I don't see any real hate for it either. And in a giant market like Atlanta, it makes sense.
It is amazing though how all of these regional parks managed to blow it in a time where people were traveling less. Stupid.
If SF intends to divest itself of all itself smaller properties, and concentrate on a few regional, larger "flagship" parks, that may seem like a reasonable business decision, given their unreasonable business practices of the past.
My question is, if they indeed close (sell off, abandon) their other parks, is there anyone who is willing or able to step up to the plate to take over these places and continue to run them as parks? Do Cedar Fair and Paramount want to take on additional parks? Would any of the smaller players be able to handle it? Or do these parks just become strip malls, condos, and parking lots for other businesses?
If the entire SFI company goes, I'm sure the other major competitors such as Cedar Fair and Paramount, will buy the three main parks... SFMM, SFGAm, and SFGAv. Thats just to much rides and coasters to throw down the drain IMO.
I certainly don't see Paramount purchasing additional parks. You can count them off that list.
Rathergoodbear, I may be in the minority in this opinion, but I think the only way out for this company is to continue to shave off the excess(sell under perfoming parks) to bring down the debt, and then sell of the remains to a buyer in a better position to run the remaining parks. I don't think this is the end of SF, but it sure does look like the beginning of the end for Premier.
If amusement park companies see Six Flags as a cautionary tale, they won't be taking over a bunch of new parks anytime soon. Then again this may be the only time they can buy out the competition before a new player steps in to make Six Flags' parks better than ever. The competition doesn't want to buy the parks, or see them go to better management. I think they just want Six Flags to stay just the way it is.
I'll say this for Six Flags. They have been a key player in the coaster construction boom over the last decade. They have forced a lot of other parks to try to keep pace with new coasters of their own. Once Six Flags lays down their tool box, it will mark an end to an era. Ten years ago the amusement park skyline looked completely different then it does today. How can coaster fans not be sad to see a company so focused on coaster construction, now place it self on the chopping block. B&M will not find a better buddy.