Shapiro on CNBC

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 5:07 PM
Did anyone else catch Mark Shapiro on CNBC this afternoon? I was flipping through and saw this on and had to watch. I must admit, it seems as if he is making the right moves for this company. However, I'm not sure if his statement that roller coasters have no return on investment is correct. Perhaps they would have ROI if they wouldn't break down so much. :) *** Edited 2/14/2006 10:08:14 PM UTC by Jeff Young***
Jeff Young
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 5:32 PM
I think he has a very good point on the profit coasters make. Most coasters really only pull in money their first year. At CP Magnum, Raptor, and Millennium Force are the only coasters I know of that kept attendance up for over a year. I think many of us enthusiast are in shock with the decisions Shapiro is making. Jeff says exactly what I think of the subject on the podcast.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 5:33 PM
Or if they actually staff them to have them open!

"Heavily medicated for your safety!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 5:51 PM
Yeah but coasters also require yearly maintainance, and the huge ones SF have been building the last few years probably cost more than they're worth. And when you get to 8-12 coasters on average at each park, that's alot of cash, after the initial cost. *** Edited 2/14/2006 10:53:25 PM UTC by DWeaver***
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 6:01 PM
I don't know if he gets it or not?

Sure coasters have a return on investment, Other than a water park, They are definetly the main draw for seasonal parks (Not necessaraly IOA and disney).

Where you run into problems getting the returns you need on em is building a major one every year like SFMM or SFGRADV. So what if you attendance drops a couple percent each of the three years post installation? The draw of it is still gonna pull interest and people for several years, and be in addition to those you already have.

I often think it's more the quality of the attraction you put in, that matters most. Take this boards beloved CP. Four mega hits that people return for time and time again.
Gemini, Magnum, Raptor and MF. The jurys still out on TTD as there is a percentage that won't ride something like that and the fact that a ride with more downtime than running might actually hurt you more than help. Coasters there that probably weren't worth the installation? Mean Streak. Although insanely popular its first couple seasons. It's basically a walk on now or running at less than capacity. I doubt Mantis has paid itself off except for being part of a already existing group of good coasters.

I love the line from Indiana Jones, Choose, but choose wisely. Thats the difference IMHO. The Goliaths will be huge hits for SFOG and Lerond as long as they don't drop next years budget on another coaster and improve other things instead.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006 6:10 PM
He certainly seems to get what the parks need *now*. They do NOT need more rollercoasters. The emphasis needs to be on customer service and bring families back into the parks. He can't undo the bad coaster decisions done to these parks in the past, nor should he get the blame.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 6:48 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Can I ask those of you that saw it how Shapiro comes off in person? I've yet to see him on TV or video clip or whatever. All I know is what I read and I've been interested in how he comes off in person.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 7:49 PM
I've seen him in the ESPN days. He comes off as a polite and confident (cocky?) person. He is a leader.

The question is if the ship he is sailing can be salvaged...?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 8:37 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

He comes off as a polite and confident (cocky?) person.

I suspected such.

One man's confident is another's cocky. It's a fine line.

I'd really love to see a clip of the guy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 8:39 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ It's a fine line that Spurrier crossed every day....those were good times here in Swamp-Land... :)

If Shapiro turns the ship around, he'll be an "admirable admiral"...strange how the stock prices seem to reflect confidence in their abilities to make a profitable enterprise out of the thing...we know it wasn't going to change under the old leadership. Spending money you're NOT making is...?

P.S. Sharpio still *sounds* smarter... ;)

*** Edited 2/15/2006 1:43:09 AM UTC by rollergator***

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 9:38 PM
Shapiro comes across as a guy who is concerned with the bottom line, but if he doesn't know how to get there, he sure doesn't show it. There is a total aura of confidence that surrounds him. As far as cockiness goes, I'm not sure what to think. I think that someone who has accomplished as much as he has by the age of 35 or 40 (I don't know how old he is) has every right to be slightly full of him/herself. However, the ones who make the truly great leaders are the ones who have every right...and then don't exercise that right.

Wow I've been an education major for way too long. :)

Jeff Young
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 10:21 PM
All we need to do is look at 3 of the most "profitable" coasters of all time...Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn. While they were expensive in their first years of being built, and it does fly in the face of the need for instant results to report to the shareholders, look at how long they have remained popular! Decades! So really it's the question of whether or not they will commit the capital expense to create an attraction that will be popular over many years.

I'm not sure if Shapiro understands that concept, which is a suprise considering he has visited Disneyland and worked for Disney under ESPN. He has complained about the cost of Kingda Ka, but Ka is now an icon and will draw people in for many years, assuming it works out operationally. Sure, they could have built a fleet of wild mice coasters for a lot less, but would those have the same marketing impact long term as Ka? Disney could litter their parks with Gadget coasters as a cheap alternative to have a new attraction, but they don't, instead opting for more expensive rides that will pay off over time.

Hoping for the best.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 11:33 PM
john peck's avatar Raven and Legend, along with the right customer service and a incredible waterpark has done wonders for Holiday World
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 11:42 PM
Mamoosh's avatar True...but Raven, Legend, and Voyage were built 10 years apart.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:22 AM
All of a sudden people are defending the decision to continue adding expensive coasters to Six Flags?

I don't get it. If Shapiro says blue, you say green?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:28 AM
Dweaver. No you have it wrong. its lets say the oposite of the decisions of six flags not shapiro . lol
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:46 AM
Shapiro cocky? Nah. If you want cocky check Maverick's Mark Cuban.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:58 AM
a_hoffman50's avatar No matter what Six Flag's does, there is going to be some in opposition and some in agreement. It is human nature. Not everyone has the same opinion. And because a few people agree/disagree with it does not mean that everyone agrees/disagrees.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 4:20 AM
You don't buy a brand new car, if you are 4 month behind on the mortgage of your house. Six Flags is "millions" in the red, and Shapiro was hired to pay the bills. Big ticket rides in general (not just coasters) are going to be refused by Shapiro, at least until those bills are paid.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006 9:24 AM
"I think this industry got drunk on roller coasters," Shapiro said. "Big roller coasters simply do not get the return on investments that they used to."

And I think he's right. The 'rollercoaster' market has been over-saturated, at least when it comes to Six Flags.

"Deleveraging our balance sheet is an absolute priority for us," he said. "The quicker we can get under that $2 billion mark, the better."

Who says this guy's head is not in the right place...


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