Six Flags considers selling more parks.

SupermanFan1 said:
I'll reiterate my point: It's not the resale value of the actual parks and rides that make selling parks worthwhile. It's the longterm operating expenses of the underperforming parks that the company would save.

What needs to be done is dumpe less capital into the parks that are over expanded & more into the ones that really need it to bring those parks back up into profitable range.

I hate to say it but I do think that bankruptcy for the chain is inevitable.

"Six Flags officials, who want to cut loose one of the company's three advertising agencies, plan to reduce radio spending and concentrate more on Internet-driven opportunities that will attract more teens."

Would these be the same teens they turned their backs on when they believed that teens didn't spend enough money in the parks and the goal was to attract more families with fuller wallets?

Make up your minds SF! Wiggles World, Thomas Town, family coasters and the like are not going to attract teens no matter where you market the parks. And getting rid of coasters and thrill rides doesn't help that either.

4 years ago the big problem was too many thrill rides attracting teens with little money. Now you're feeling their absence financially? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

Lord Gonchar's avatar

RollerCoastin!!!! said:
Would these be the same teens they turned their backs on when they believed that teens didn't spend enough money in the parks and the goal was to attract more families with fuller wallets?

Now you're feeling their absence financially? It doesn't make sense to me at all.

I don't believe it's ever said that they want to attract teens for their money.

I have to go back to this article and the Shapiro quote:

And Shapiro acknowledges that with 2008 the final year in his turnaround plan, he must have better attendance numbers regardless of whether it rains in Texas or anywhere else.

"It's put-up-or-shut-up year for us, and we aim to deliver," Shapiro said.

I've said it many times, but I still think that quote is the key to the wackiness and contradiction we're seeing from SF this year. Shapiro feels he needs to show some attendance growth and show it soon. (I don't necessarily agree with that, but there it is straight from the horse's mouth)

Given that quote, I suspect SF doesn't want the teens for their money (they don't spend) - SF wants them back to boost attendance numbers.

If you spend two years trying to attract a family base by marketing to them specifically (and I'm not sure how that gets bastardized into "turning away teens") - the next logical step after getting those families interested is to target another demographic.

Say a foreign investor were willing to buy the whole chain outright including *every* single park, how much would it be worth? Might we have another Kennywood, but on a much larger scale, about to happen here?

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
See, I disagree with Six Flags St. Louis being sold. This park has tons of potential because of the ununsed land. Plus, it is my favorite of the two I been to. And Shapiro likes SFSTL also, that is why instead of a new show, they got a new coaster at the last minute for this year.

JVC Everio 30 gig hdd camera Nikon d70s is my favorite of the two I been to.

Glad to see you are making your decision on a wide sampling of parks. ;)

--George H

rollergator's avatar
^LOL, with a *slightly* larger sample size, I also found SFStL to be a pretty nice park. Of course, MORE informative than the opinion of some out-of-town coaster geek was our discussion with the waitress at the Steak-n-Shake less than a mile away. She wasn't a big fan... ;)
In 1999 SFStL drew 2.0m guests, putting them behind only GADV, MM, GAM, SFOT, SFOG, and FT in the Six Flags chain. Even if SFStL's attendance has dropped, so hasn't the rest of SF's attendance, so SFStL's realative position is probably the same. Maybe SFNE has passed it, but Astroworld, America, KK, & GE haven't. Especially Astroworld. :)

Considering its location, I doubt SFStL has the highest operating costs of that group.

This Isn't A Hospital--It's An Insane Asylum!

May I remind everyone before we start seeing a ton of posts about which parks or rides Shapiro likes or dislikes that he is not the only decision maker and from a business standpoint, his likes/dislikes aren't going to matter when it comes to money.
matt.'s avatar

rct247 said:
As for Six Flags New England...I withdraw my comment to sell. I admit I am not very familiar with that park.

Even though I think the prospects are slim for SFNE getting sold it still wouldn't shock me in the least. But really there are only 2 or 3 properties that would shock me if they were to be sold.

Please sell SFGADV to Cedar Fair!!!! Please
I love my park and I want the best for it. Cedar Fair is the answer.

Top 5, in no particular order: 1. MF 2. Maverick, 3. Kraken 3. El Toro, 4. TTD 5. Superman Krypton Coaster Top overrated coasters: 1. Incredible Hulk (Boooooring!) 2. Nitro 3. Expedition G-force 4. Goliath(SFMM) 5. Any Dive Coaster
^Cedar Fair doesn't have the money to buy Great Adventure. It's just not going to hapen--not in their current situation. How much money do you think they're losing right now in the last of the Paramount transition years?

Let's look at some of the expenses:

1) New signs for all the Paramount parks
2) Name changes for a lot of the rides plus new merchandise to match
3) New front and rears for all the former Italian Job cars so they don't look like Mini-Coopers
4) New ride signs and logos for the rides that are being changed
5) All the money being spent relocating and repainting former Geauga Lake rides. It has got to be costing them a fortune.
6) All the merchandise that had Paramount on it can't be sold anymore. That's a big loss.

And remember, Cedar Fair is not in the animal business. That's how GL got screwed up. Like it or not, the Safari is a big part of Gadv. plus you've got a waterpark to throw in there as well.

I'm not sure what you're looking for out of Cedar Fair, that Six Flags isn't already providing. Do you think the food prices would be any cheaper? Highly doubtful looking at what I paid at Cedar Point last summer.

Do you think CF would've kept Chiller around any longer? See Hypersonic XLC which has been confirmed as coming down in the next few weeks. Laser is up for sale at Dorney too if anyone wants it.

I thought the ride ops last summer were excellent, the rides were being run well, and to boot, all the rides were running (including both Skyways!) except for S:UF which went down for the count later in the day.

The only thing I could see CF changing would be Lo-Q and possibly lowering the parking charge. Hopefully, they could add some more flats back in as well, but again I think CF has their financial plate full for now. *** Edited 1/31/2008 12:32:04 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***

I would think the parks that are the front runners for being sold are the ones that Six Flags has not invested major capital in the past couple of seasons. These are:

SF America
Kentucky Kingdom
SF Mexico
American Adventures/SF Whitewater

I think the debt is the lesser of their problems, the company is not showing a profit, but rather a large operating lose (over $241 million in 2007) year after year. *** Edited 1/31/2008 12:43:56 AM UTC by otterkpr***

^Well the reason why parks like SFA havn't seen major investments over the years can be blamed on Burke & CO. with their decision to wrecklessly waste cap ex funds year after year on SFMM or SFGRADV just so they could win a pi$$ing contest for most coasters in a single park & get on those now defunct discovery channel coaster shows every year.
^Do you have proof to back up that claim, or are you still a disgruntled SFA customer who continues to cry that your park doesn't get what you would like?

My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

LOL Chitown...

No matter how many things change...many also stay the same...

--George H

After reading all of this I am actually surprised that SFSTL wasn't mentioned more often as being one of the possible parks they would off load.

Heres the thing about SFSTL. Even thought the park has had declining attendance the last few years (see example below), the park has still been profitable, while other Six Flags parks have been in the red. You don't sell off those assets that have a ROI when others cant even do that...That is of course in less your offered an obscene amount of money.

I have a feeling this year will be a make or break year, the park needs to start drawing out of towner's in again.

2007 - 1.320 Million
2006 - 1.377 Million
2005 - 1.377 Million
2004 - 1.35 Million
2003 - 1.675 Million
2002 - 1.75 Million
2001 - 1.86 Million
2000 - 1.9 Million
1999 - 2.059 Million
1998 - 1.556 Million
1997 - 1.75 Million
1996 - 1.8 Million
1995 - 2 Million

The figures are fairly accurate...

Actually, otterkpr, SFKK had a lot of money poured into it last year. They spent a lot of money redoing the waterpark, including putting in a star attraction in Deluge.

BFSFA, I don't think anyone sits around the office thinking "Yes, we must add this attraction so we can be on an hour-long special show that's not going to be seen by a whole lot of people."

I think there were other motivating factors involved instead like the population base, which is far greater for Great Adventure and Magic Mountain.

While it may sound crazy, perhaps the reason SFA hasn't been invested in as heavily is because they haven't had to get as many butts through the door. It's a small park with a dwindling amount of rides, and maybe the numbers aren't showing a reason to put anything else in (besides the Tony Hawk slide this year) to maintain profitability.

Please BFSFA, take the needle off the record--it's been skipping for years. While all of us who have the park as our homepark would like to see something new, we just have to accept that it's not happening and a car will take to you a lot of parks within a two-three-1/2 hour range from where I live for alternatives.

Bossstl, you bring up a good point about attendance, but its not what I would consider a good place to look at for selling.

Many people freak out about declining attendance. Declining attendance isn't a problem if the profits are up. Now I know nothing about profits at various parks, and I'm sure most of us have no idea since the company doesn't release individual figures.

For those that have learned about the supply and demand curves, you know that you need to find the best point of profit. Although attendance has declined, prices are higher than they used to be. This could actually leave profits higher than if it was 10 bucks to get in and they were doing 5 million a season. Turnstile clicks are only as good as the cash register bells they can ring.

SFStL however, is what I would consider one of the biggest small six flags parks (if that makes sense). The major concern right now is how much money Six Flags is pouring into the parks on general upkeep and operating costs. On the whole I would say in terms of that SFStL is fairly inexpensive compared to many of its sister parks. Think of parks like SFMM, SFGAd,and SFGAm I'm sure operating costs at those parks are astronomical, as well as general upkeep. I would also bet that the larger costs for those parks aren't worth the few more guests they are getting over SFStL, if any (what exactly is SFMM pulling these days attendance wise?)

I would guess that SFStL turns over a pretty decent profit when all is said and done.

As for my guess on parks that could be heading out, I think its safe to say those non-branded parks would be a good bet. Also parks that aren't getting "new management" love through brands (like Tony Hawk, Wiggles, Thomas, Dark Knight) would be a very safe bet as soon to go.

Then again Six Flags has been full of surprises in the past so really I would consider no park safe (if the price is right).

Maybe they'll sell the Great Escape waterpark hotel to Great Wolf and pay off some debt - that place is probably dead for most of the school year anyway, and they can focus more on their core business. There is a big operating cost associated with keeping that place open during the school year on weeknights when there's probably only a handful of rooms booked.

There's no way they'd sell off SFGAdv - even if they sold the whole chain of parks (minus the original three and SFMM) to a prospective buyer, they'd keep Jackson as their flagship park - there is such a huge market to draw from sitting in the middle of NYC and Philly, that their attendance increases can be astronomical given the right circumstances.

A lower middle class family of four cannot afford to blow over four hundred bucks for a days visit to SF more than once or twice per year. If they'd ditch the parking fee and lowered food prices those families might attend three to four times per year and it would increase SF bottom line per family over the course of the season. Also, add a cheap general admission ticket (p.o.p. wristband for all others) for caregivers and nonriders - those are the people who will be spending the whole day shopping, eating/drinking, and playing games and they won't pay over forty bucks to do those things. Duh! Someone please give this chain a clue before we have another Astroworld fiasco on our hands

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