Six Flags profit up on higher attendance and prices

Posted Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:54 PM | Contributed by VitaminsAndGravy

Thanks to improved attendance and higher prices at its theme parks, third-quarter profits for Grand Prairie-based Six Flags Entertainment Corp. went up 31 percent, the company reported today. Six Flags reported net income of $253 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, or $4.33 a share, compared to $192.8 million, or $3.43 a share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue for the quarter was $485 million, up $10 million, or 2 percent, driven by an increase in admissions revenue, the company said.

Read more from The Star-Telegram.

Thursday, October 25, 2012 10:55 PM

The economy is in shambles!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:47 PM

Well they added (or rotated in) a lot of new stuff to their parks for this year, that must be a factor. What a huge boost!

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Friday, October 26, 2012 8:18 AM

Can they blame the weather for the results too?

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Friday, October 26, 2012 9:51 AM

Considering it was hot and dry most of the year, I think they can Rob. :-)

Last edited by Jason Hammond, Friday, October 26, 2012 9:51 AM
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Friday, October 26, 2012 3:56 PM

All Six Flags has to do to raise profits is close a few rides. :p

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 1:46 AM

I don't get the joke^

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 11:34 AM

Not a joke. Closing rides saves maintenance costs, staffing costs, and makes lines longer so that people will run for the Flashpass booth, which makes SF even more money.

Up next on CoasterBuzz, a passionate argument saying that LostKause is a loon. :)

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 12:55 PM

^ I'm just wondering which "closed rides" have people running for Flashpass? :P

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 1:02 PM

This discussion belongs on ConspiracyTheoryBuzz.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 7:27 PM

If your SF parks has 10 big coasters, for example, and on a busy summer day the park closes three of them, and reduces capacity for the rest by one third or one half, the lines will be very long. Long lines sells more Flash Passes.

I would absolutely love to know what Lo-Q knows about how long the average line has to be before people start accepting Flash Pass as a good value.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 8:00 PM

While I'll grant that your theory is remotely plausible, Krause, I doubt very much that any parks or their parent chains would engage in such shenanigans. If anything, it would seem to be in parks' best interest to maintain capacity, which results in shorter lines, more rides, better experiences, and greater likelihood of return visits by customers.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:39 PM

Why no hate for dollywoods cheaper qbot? I smell bias.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012 9:54 PM

Mmmmm. Bias...

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Monday, October 29, 2012 12:12 AM

LostKause said:

If your SF parks has 10 big coasters, for example, and on a busy summer day the park closes three of them, and reduces capacity for the rest by one third or one half, the lines will be very long. Long lines sells more Flash Passes.

I would absolutely love to know what Lo-Q knows about how long the average line has to be before people start accepting Flash Pass as a good value.

Amazingly, it is pretty low. If every line in a park was 15 minutes or less, people would still buy it. It wouldn't be nearly as many, but it will still sell. I don't understand it, but it happens. People will pay for and insist on using an entrance that other's cant use even when it is pretty much pointless.

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Monday, October 29, 2012 12:24 AM

People are anything but pragmatic when it comes to purchasing decsions. Even less so when it's leisure spending.

It's a concept that seems to elude the enthusiast crowd.

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Monday, October 29, 2012 11:12 AM

I'm not so sure about that, Gonch. Lots of people are very pragmatic on their visits. The Disneyana boards are flush with first-timer families trying to save a few bucks here and there. Of course, that's a self-selecting population, so not clear what conclusions you can draw. Perhaps a better example is the picnic pavilion at Your Local Park. My guess is that most operating days, it has plenty of people who've brought food from home rather than buy in-park food.

But, the key insight is that differentiated services, by definition, do not treat the customer base as a monolithic thing. That's the whole point of differentiation. Some people will be utterly pragmatic, look at <upcharge item> and say "not worth it." But, as long as some others won't do this reliably, there is a market for <name upcharge item with dubious value here>. There are certainly times when my attitude is: "Screw it, I'm on vacation." And, importantly, the various upcharges work precisely because not everyone buys them.

What's more, a silly purchase for some is utterly pragmatic for others. It all depends on where you are on the time/money curve.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Monday, October 29, 2012 11:13 AM
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Monday, October 29, 2012 12:32 PM

Well, I was sweeping with a large brush and you're throwing darts, but yeah - same general idea.

Not every single person makes only the most practical decision, nor does everyone define practical the same way in a given situation.

We're saying the same thing:

There's no reason to believe that no one will buy into q-bot when lines are low.

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Monday, October 29, 2012 4:56 PM

maXairMike said:
If every line in a park was 15 minutes or less, people would still buy it. It wouldn't be nearly as many, but it will still sell. I don't understand it, but it happens. People will pay for and insist on using an entrance that other's cant use even when it is pretty much pointless.

I'll field this with a personal anecdote.

A few years ago Jet Blue was running a special from PIT to Boston for $39. This was enough to entice my wife and I to do an impromptu trip. Caught a game at Fenway, did the Freedom Trail, Sam Adams Brewery, etc.

We also went over to SFNE for a day. Neither of us had been there before, and most likely if we ever make it back it won't be for a very long time.

It was slow that day and with the exception of Superman/Bizarro, all the lines were around 15 minutes or less.

I rented us a Q-Bot.

Now this would not make sense if I lived there and went to the park a lot, or if I was one of those people who travels all over to go to parks... but that's not me. I was a one-time visitor.

So figure this: 8 hours in the park. "People gotta eat" a meal, play some games, etc. That leaves us with about 6 hours of ride time. 15 minute lines and a 5-minute walk between attractions would then allow us 3 rides per hour, or 18 rides over the course of the day.

With a Q-Bot, since the lines were so short, I was able to queue the next ride immediately upon entering the station of an attraction, and by the time we rode and exited, the next time was available. Now I'm at 6 attractions per hour instead of 3, and 36 rides per day instead of 18.

That was totally worth my money to get a full, packed experience. Didn't miss out on a thing and got to reride things we wanted to without having to rush through dinner, miss the parade, or hurry out of a gift shop.

Last edited by kpjb, Monday, October 29, 2012 4:58 PM
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Monday, October 29, 2012 6:40 PM

I can give 3 personal anecdotes:

On my last visit of the season to Carowinds a couple of weekends ago, I stopped in for 3 hours on a Saturday, knowing good and well that it would be fairly dead (Cause everyone goes to SCarowinds this time of year). Everything but Intimidator was a walk on. Intimidator was a 20 minute wait.

People were flooding Intimidator's Fastlane queue. In fact, If they weren't running all three trains, the Fastlane queue would have been backed up.

On my last visit to SFoT (also my first), me and some other Buzzers/geeks rented a QBot. The park wasn't that busy (save for hour plus waits for Giant, for good reason), and because the lines weren't long, every time we queued up a ride on the 'Bot, it was immediately available. It was my first visit and we wanted to ride as much as we could.

On my last visit to IOA/USO, I got their version. The park wasn't that crowded, but I was trying to get both parks done in a short amount of time. I'd been to both parks before, but I needed a few first rides, and wanted to ride some favorites.

I'll gladly pay for queue mgt. solutions even with little to no wait. I did the same thing at Dollywood this year. And these are parks that are well run with good to decent capacity.

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