Six Flags reports third quarter gains in attendance and revenue

Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 3:52 PM | Contributed by Jason Hammond

Six Flags, Inc. announced today that with just over two weeks remaining in its full-time operating season, revenues for its third quarter through August 12, 2008 have increased approximately 7.6%, or $23.5 million, over the prior-year period on fewer park operating days. The revenue increase is attributable to attendance growth of 5.1%, or 407,000, to 8.43 million guests and a 2.4%, or $0.92, increase in total revenue per capita to $39.55. Guest spending, which excludes sponsorship, licensing, and other fees, grew by 1.6%, or $0.60, for the period to $38.56.

Read the press release on MarketWatch.

Thursday, August 14, 2008 7:52 PM
Basically, our stock is in the gutter at $1.05 in the past week, and we have to show something to get it not de-listed in the stock exchange, so this is what we have to show people. Really, what's the point of this at all? It ends in September, not in August or the middle of August. The end of August is usually slower, and so is September compared to the other months. We know August is going to be something else because they have those reading programs, and people have to get to the park before it's school time.

I actually think the growth of attendance is attributed to the school kids going back around here earlier than they were before.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008 8:54 PM
I don't think their motivation for this has anything to do with concern over delisting (the criteria, if I recall correctly, is more than just pricing under a buck). I think long-term cheerleading is more the strategy, and when the year ends and they allegedly hit that positive cash flow, I think in their eyes that lends them credibility with investors, analysts and creditors. The creditors are the audience I'd be most concerned with, so they can get favorable rates going forward.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008 9:57 PM
Actually, it's not unusual for Six Flags to make mid-quarter statements, after all, for a business that has a fairly set "busy" season and "slow" season that really doesn't line up at all with the start and end of each fiscal quarter, it makes sense to make these mid-quarter announcements.
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Friday, August 15, 2008 4:13 PM
People are generally sticking close to home and looking for more economical ways to vacation. If the price of a gallon of gas were to somehow magically be under $3 in 2009 I bet attendence would drop back to "normal."
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Friday, August 15, 2008 5:52 PM
What is normal? Right now is attendance higher than normal? I think what we are really looking at is that attendance has dropped so much over the past couple years that this season it is rising back to normal. Actually when all is said and done this or last would probably be considered normal. Or perhaps it is best that you used quotes around the term normal since when you look at it, in reality there probably isn't something that is considered "normal".
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Friday, August 15, 2008 5:58 PM
What I meant is that the people who, given a better economy, normally would have gone elsewhere (and I don't mean a different amusement park) are spending less, staying closer to home, and see a day at an amusement park as one way to spend a day of vacation.

I don't think this is a phenomenon unique to Six Flags. I think most regional parks are seeing the same. I'd also be willing to bet that parks who typically see a large tourist attendence -- the Disney parks being a good example -- are seeing fewer of them this year.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008 12:11 AM
^ Ding Ding Ding! Rather than taking that roadtrip to wherever, there are people who are taking that "staycation" and doing something relatively cheap, like hitting their local park that they have neglected for the past year or two (for whatever reason).

Of course Six Flags in their current climate will take the winfall, wether its real or imagined. Either way, positave cash flow is something that has never happened in the history of the company, and that cannot be ignored. I, for one, really hope they can pulll it out of the fire and do something with the company as a whole.

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Monday, August 18, 2008 1:25 PM
This is good news all around, considering most doom and gloomers were predicting that most people wouldn't even bother venturing off their front porches-- the few people who still had homes that is.

I can vouch for the fact that Knoebels is drawing crowds this year, so it appears that just about everyone from the small parks to the regional chains are benefitting from the stay-cationers. It's up to them to convince their guests that they're still a fun alternative even when other entertainment options become doable for many people again.

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