An annoucement made by SF's CEO has mention that the company will not make hugh capital improvements in their park for a season or two until the economy starts showing signs of improvement. Which is a contrast from last season's annoucement that only park with a stong attendance increase would receive captial improvements. To top it off, SF will start making cuts in operation cost for their park as well. Doner a michigan based advertising firm has just been annouced as SF"s new ad agency. If the company keeps on loosing money and contiues down this path I suppose we'll be seeing one of two things happen. One, a selling off or closing of some of the underperforming parks. Or two, a partnership with a new company that will either buy Six Flags outright or manage the company. This only my own speculation. It's not a good situation. I suppoopse that not making any major purchases is not entirely a bad thing. Busch Parks made a simliar decision not to invest heavy in major expansions until the economy kicked back into gear. My biggest concern that alot of coaster/ride manufacture will go under. Can Six Flags pull out of this funk? the decisions made this year should have probably been implemented years ago. I also believe that purchasing SFNO last year was'nt a good move either.
SFNO? No, I think that was one of the BETTER deals SF got involved in, along with EV/WW....
Sure, SF spread out AWFUL thin by buying up every mom-and-pop park in the country, but just LOOK at what they own. And with the renewed enthusiasm for the ride rotation program, SF will save a TON of money on cap ex for the upcoming season. Sure, a couple of the recent acquisitions may not return an immediate profit, but if SF can wait out the sluggish economy this year, I kinda expect a turnaround in '04...
As for rides and improvements, waterparks and Sally-brand (TM) dark rides sure seem like FANTASTIC additions in terms of ROI to me...SF has been making pretty good calls IMO, in every facet but personnel....they WILL need to make some major adjustments there before stockholders (myself included) will see anything *really good* coming from SFI...
SFI has a different *plan* than CF or Paramount or Busch or Herschend.....this does NOT mean the plan is faulty, only that it will likely take a little more TIME to become highly profitable...;)
Although I like a new ride as much as the next person, I think it is time for SF to take a breath, step back, and reassess. They had a great strategy for gaining marketshare - extensive purchase of properties around the nation. But, they had no strategy for growth or even retaining marketshare. The only thing they know how to do is spend money. With the exception of very few properties (and you have to catch them on the right day), professional managementi s non-existent. Maintenance is often overlooked or sacrificed. Adequate staffing is an issue in every park I've visited and rides rarely run at capacity. At to that unfriendly pricing of food and drinks, homogenized Six Flags souvenirs, and, in somecases, poorsecurity and crowd control - and you have a company struggling under the weight of its own ineptitude.
The policy of "build another coaster" just doesn't work, because you get the growing chorus of, "it sounds cool, too bad it's Six Flags" or "let's see how Six Flags screws it up".
I'd like to see them pull it all together and provide top notch parks and high quality service. Hopefully, shifting focus from new construction will do just that. And, think of all the money they save by not having to order new park maps in 2004!
How often do we need topics proclaiming the certain death of Six Flags.
They aren't going to sell anything. You can't dig yourself out of debt without a mechanism to generate revenue, and the parks are what generate revenue.
Could they be an acquisition target? I suppose, but it would have to be a company with the ability to refinance their debt in a way that would really make it worth their while.
And for the record, regardless of Dick Kinzel recently saying it's a capital-intensive business (because in my opinion it's only cap intensive for Cedar Point and other parks that have created the expectation, not the industry as a whole), all parks don't need to spend tens of millions every year to pack in the people. Every situation is different. BGW seems to be getting along just fine without new rides. The Disney parks are lucky to put one major new attraction every few years.
------------------ Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com DELETED! What time does the water show start?
I highly doubt they will sell any Six Flags branded parks. Waterparks and European properties are more questionable, but in all likelihood Six Flags is going to start selling extra land and other assets to raise some cash. For example, SF owns a LOT of land around the New Jersey park, much more than they would ever need for park expansion.
The money that Six Flags would make from selling an under-performing park, or a number of under-performing parks, would hardly make a dent in their debt. That's not the way for them to go. They have to improve things the old-fashioned way- with a lot of hard work. New coasters aren't going to do it alone and they see that- they realize that improvements in the areas of efficiency and guest satisfaction are more important right now.
Good for them.
------------------ -Rob A.C.E. member since 1990 Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000 E.C.C. member since 2002
On the other hand, selling off one or more of their bread-and-butter parks (and associated debt) would be a bad long-term business move, but would be the kind of thing Wall Street loves and would almost certainly upgrade their stock.
I agree with rollergator that the purchase of SFNO was a good thing...that park has done really well this year despite lousy weather.
To me the best improvement SF could make is in customer service. For example: I was at CP one day last week and the next day at SFWOA. The ride staff at CP made it so much fun to just even wait in line. They were excited and it was like a party to them. SFWOA was beyond DEAD in every ride I went on. The staff were like zombies. CP staff was service with a smile AND a party. I don't think I saw one smile from any employee at SFWOA. It was like a total chore for them to push the button to operate a ride. That's only one small thing I noticed, but it really stuck out in my mind about their customer service. Hopefully, the staff at other SF's are alive and kicking it for their paying customers. It makes a HUGE difference. ------------------ Nashville needs a theme park!
Quick, somebody get on the Batphone and call Gary Story and Kieran Burke! We've found the answer to their problems! Maybe there are other 13 year olds sitting in front of their computers in their underwear scratching their butts that can solve even bigger problems.
(Maybe we'd all be better off if we summoned Captain Obvious instead.)
CedarPointRocks, a) if you're getting enraged about false advertising, you need to get a life b) there's a difference between a midcourse brakerun and a trim, and obviously you don't know the difference c) cloning provides people in different parts of the country with the same experience so they don't have to travel thousands of miles just to ride one coaster. That's considered smart. d) a great number of parks are alive and kicking because Six Flags Inc. (formerly Premier Parks) came in and bought them ------------------ If someone makes a post and you post-quote it right beneath it, you're wasting bandwidth. Think before you press the button.