Six Flags revenue and attendance up in first three quarters

Posted Monday, November 10, 2008 10:03 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Total revenues of $489.3 million increased 5% over the prior-year quarter, while total attendance increased 0.2 million. The attendance increase over the prior-year quarter was despite the loss of two full operating days at the parks and a planned reduction of 0.2 million in complimentary and free promotional attendance.

Revenue growth for the third quarter reflected growth in attendance and guest spending, as well as sponsorship, licensing and other fees, which increased $7.8 million over the prior-year period to $19.3 million. Total revenue per capita increased 4% to $40.27 in the current quarter from $38.82 in the third quarter of 2007.

Increases in per capita guest spending, which grew $0.82 to $38.67, a 2% increase over the per capita guest spending of $37.85 for the third quarter of 2007, reflected higher rentals, food and beverage, parking, admissions, and retail revenues.

Read the entire press release from PR Newswire via CNN.

Monday, November 10, 2008 12:59 PM

After three seasons, can we finally say these guys are moving the company in the right direction?

Because they are.

Monday, November 10, 2008 1:13 PM

Seems like it. And, as my local park is a SF (SFA), I hope they can keep it up. This economy sure isn't helping, though...

Monday, November 10, 2008 1:54 PM

Actually, the very thing that is harming destinations such as Disney could work in Six Flags favor. The staycation will likely be a popular trend for a couple of years, and regional operations stand to reap the profits. If they can keep themselves together financially, be competitive pricewise, and continue improving in-park experience, they could make the best out of economic troubles.

Monday, November 10, 2008 2:09 PM

^ D: I don't know if that is going to work for the major Six Flags parks were gates and parking are so outrageous that they are quickly pricing themselves out of the entertainment market. Talking to the average consumer around here in Southeastern Wisconsin, I am hearing from just about everyone that they will not visit SFGAm again because it is getting way too expensive. Several griped that the only way to even get on the rides was to buy an expensive QBot, which they could not afford, or wait in two plus hour lines. People here are saying that instead of going to SFGAm they would rather go to the Dells on a day trip or go camping/fishing/hiking ect...

Monday, November 10, 2008 3:12 PM

^ Yet the numbers betray your point.

Monday, November 10, 2008 3:58 PM

What were the analysts expecting? Because the stock is taking a beating.

Here's the transcript of the conference call...

Shapiro said:
At $275 million to $280 million we will be free cash flow positive.Attaining EBITDA margins of 30% plus and really how we got to 30%, Imentioned several times in this call before, I think Cedar Fair does aterrific job of operating their business and operating their parks andeven though their headquarters are in Sandusky as opposed to New YorkCity or Dallas, so their G&A is a lot lower, their EBITDA marginsare in the mid-30s which is nothing to sneeze at.

And also...

The big brand strategy has clearly paid off for us and I would tellyou as well, [Low Q] which is the company that does our flash passsystem, they’re unbelievable. They really drove our business and theirnumbers were up significantly year-over-year. In fact they’ve been upsignificantly year-over-year since the year I arrived and we began toexpand the usage of our flash pass system in all of our parks.

Wehad one million more people use the system this year then last year andyou remember flash pass is what gets you a premium and you get anelectronic device that brings you to the front of the line so you don’thave to wait in line.

And because of the positive responsewe’re seeing, we’re planning to install in another two parks next yearso that nearly every Six Flags park will have the system and flash passworks because really it drives revenue in two ways. One the premiumthey pay for the flash pass, so the revenue is generated that way. Andthen of course, by not being trapped in line, the guests spend so muchmore time moving about the park, enjoying other facilities, spendingand giving us further revenue in those ways.

Monday, November 10, 2008 4:30 PM

Bittersweet. I had a blast at Magic Mountain this year but I don't care to see more people :)

More people = longer lines! Hopefully they offer the Xtreme Play Pass again this year for comparable price. It's a no brainer considering how much I went this season.

Monday, November 10, 2008 5:10 PM

More people = Park stays in business

No people = Place will turn into a new housing community

Magic Mountain will have the Qbot system next year, Xtreme playpass will be offered that grants you a discount on the Qbot system

Monday, November 10, 2008 5:34 PM

Jeff - I was also wondering why the stock was taking a beating. Turns out SIX fell short of expectations by about 0.26%, with only $489.3M in revenue instead of $490.6M. The market is so picky.

I guess that's the only number that's looked at since, as has been pointed out, all of the news was very positive.

Makes you wonder who comes up with the "expectations" anyway.

Monday, November 10, 2008 5:45 PM

the LO_Q flashpass news is incredible. Lo-Q gross on average $17 a person so thats $17 million dollars a year extra revenue. Profit after they have paid SIx flags is around 25 percent so thats at least $4 million dollars profit extra this year, or in pounds around 2.5 million. Last year LO-Q made around £600 000 so they should be making near on £3 million pounds. The whole company is only valued at £3.3 million pounds and they will have that in cash when they announce the results.. The stock market prices are so crazy.

Monday, November 10, 2008 6:12 PM

So the big reason Six Flags is claiming that they are doing so well is Lo-Q? Blackmailing your customers keeps you in business.

I'm happy that SF says that they are doing well. I wish that they'd find another way to become successful. They really are becoming much too expensive for someone like me who doesn't live close.

Monday, November 10, 2008 8:37 PM

Jeff Speed said: The in-park growth was a result of increased spending on rentals, food and beverage, parking, and retail.

Anyone else imagining a whole lot of pissed off customers paying for unforeseen highway robbery through gritted teeth?

Betcha next year's per cap, or attendance, or both, are down . . .

Monday, November 10, 2008 11:17 PM

Ensign Smith said:
Betcha next year's per cap, or attendance, or both, are down . . .

So you think it takes three years for people to notice and change their habits?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:15 AM

Anyone else imagining a whole lot of pissed off customers paying for unforeseen highway robbery through gritted teeth?

But the customer satisfaction metrics are also at record highs. They must have been doing something right. Theres talk of dubai and korea investors buying debt for equity, so it could get interesting.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:43 AM

I wish Six Flags all the success in the world, don't get me wrong. I'm never in favor of watching a park or a whole chain struggle, no matter who it is. But we'll see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 10:29 AM

Wasn't the general consensus around here and Shapiro's own words "This is the make it or break it year"? Why do we expect next year to be drastically different?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:28 AM

The improved bottom-line reflects a net gain on debt extinguishment of $107.7 million versus a $13.2 million loss on debt extinguishment for the prior-year period

I find this bit of information to be a good indicator of their increasing financial stability.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 11:42 AM

As one of the early doubters, I have to admit that Shapiro has put his money where his mouth is and after the rocky start has made changes that are helping turn the company around.

I'm not convinced they are doing everything right, but I have to give credit where it's due that spending is up and the parks are a more pleasant experience than in the past (anyone else remember the 90's? *shudder*).

It seems to me that whether or not we want to admit it, the changes are working to an extent. It'll be interesting to see what happens next spring. I would have expected things to continue to improve, but the extreme jump in Flashpass prices during Fright Fest could have an impact on things. Guess we'll have to wait and see there.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 7:31 PM

RockDown said:
Hopefully they offer the Xtreme Play Pass again this year for comparable price. It's a no brainer considering how much I went this season.

Yup. Good news for you.

The Xtreme Play Pass is being offered at Magic Mountain for $125 again this year (as it has for the past 3 seasons). It's a huge steal I think. I've had two Xtreme Play Passes at this park and I've saved so much money considering how often I used to go. Free parking every visit, 10-15% discount on all food purchases, FREE Flash Pass, and of course no black-out date admissions --- and the park is a year round operation.

But there's also bad news in a way for Xtreme Play Pass holders.

Magic Mountain is ONE of the two parks that will be installing the Lo-Q system for 2009. Xtreme Play Pass holders will get to purchase a Q-Bot for a discounted price, unlike previous years where they could get it for free.


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