Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 8:56 AM | Contributed by coasterguts
Six Flags is shifting capital spending away from high priced thrill rides as it seeks to lure more families to its theme parks and pay down debt, the company's new chief executive said on Tuesday. The company, which now carries $2.1 billion in long-term debt, plans to strengthen its balance sheet by selling off unwanted assets and by tapping more aggressively into the family market.
Read more from Reuters.
Considering? How about already did... a lot.
This way, people will have some sort of incentive to go back, and then the changes will be realized. If you just raise prices, it will scare more people away that maybe would have given the said SF park a try this season.
After a successful season at a new price, then ticket raises could be justified. They need to think carefully about this one.
The problem is it's not even close to that simple.
They need to take in MORE money during the 2nd and 3rd quarters just to meet expenses in the 4th and 1st quarters. The same amount of people will go to SF this year, as there are not enough smaller parks to fill the need. Yes, they will sell more season passes, but that will take away gate revenue in post-Labor Day operating days.
People are dumb, and feel obligated. They will go to SF, pay $15 to park, pay $40-60 to get in, curse, pout, and stamp there feet, and tell everyone they went and paid too much. Then they will go again before the park closes. You know that, I know that, and SF knows that.
How did Disney fix their books? They raised prices. How did Cedar Fair justify buying Knott's? They raised their prices. What was the first thing Kennywood did back in 1983 when they bough Idlewild Park? Raise their prices.
People have been disgusted at Elitch's Gardens, for years, but does Lakeside Park across town have any more people in the gate? NO. Everybody has a choice.
SF cannot borrow any more funds for capital dollars right now. If they could, they would be adding indoor waterparks, hotels, coasters, and anything else that brings in more people and year round revenue to every park.
It took Cedar Fair to post its first profitable 4th quarter in over 46 years of operations. Granted, they didn't own Knott's in 1959, but when you make a profit post Labor Day, its time to celebrate. SF has a long way to go before the belly up to the bar.
Alas they are going to spend alot less money on new attractions and instead start cleaning up the bathrooms(which always should ave been done) and adding some characters and maybe a medicore parade. And then bombard us with new tie-ins which will just mean more pr BS that most would not want to see. I want too see what they are going to do to theme parts of ther parks better.
Time will tell how the new management will do. but it seems to me they want to offer less, with a few comsetic changes and charge us more for it while giving us more advertising around the park which detracts from any attempt to theme a park.
If Shapiro and team are really serious about aiming more towards families, than they need to add more family rides at SFA. Coasters may not have a high ROI, but discounting the little Zamperla coaster, we're still missing a mid-level ride. I'm talking anything from a Zamperla Roller Skater, to a Wild Mouse, a mine train, or a Poison Ivy's Twisted Train type of coaster. Basically, anything that doesn't require you to have a kid to ride it.
While I can't pass judgement on the Topple Tower yet until I get to Dollywood (fingers crossed for this year), they do look like a fun family ride and Huss is selling lots of them. It says a lot that Huss has already added it to their Classic line-up of rides. So I would definitely be cool on seeing some of those added next year.
Horray for entertainment. I was working at SFGrAm when Premier took over SF from Time Warner and my friends in the Entertainment Dept said they were worrided because Premier had declared "We're not a show park company, we're a ride park company." Nice to see some focus on shows come back. Seeing shows (good shows anyways) is a great way to break up a day, especially when its hot and the show is in an air-conditioned theatre.
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