UPDATED: Cedar Fair opposes new 49ers stadium, team would consider buying park

Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2007 11:33 PM | Contributed by Jeff

With the owner of the Great America theme park continuing to raise concerns about plans for a San Francisco 49ers stadium next door, team officials Tuesday said they would consider buying the Santa Clara attraction to move the deal ahead. A spokesman for the park's owner, Cedar Fair, said late Tuesday that the company would release a statement today explaining its opposition to the $854 million stadium proposal. Because of the terms of its lease with the city, if Cedar Fair refuses to sign off on a stadium, the proposal ultimately could be scuttled.

Read more from The Mercury News and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Read Cedar Fair's response in their press release.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:49 PM
How will Cedar Fair spin this?

"You can still enjoy Great America, but in a whole new way... Hours of tailgating fun in the 49er's new parking lot! (PS.: Don't forget to visit our other former amusement park in Aurora OH)"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:54 PM
What happened to that agreement signed years ago that states the amusement park must remain an amusement park? Did that disappear as ownership changed? Or are certain parties either misinformed or simply ignoring it?

I don't get this at all. Regardless of whether a football stadium is used for other things, they're generally a waste of money. $900 million buys a stadium that serves its main purpose between 8 and 10 times a year, requires $250 million in upgrades after 12 years and gets slated for replacement after 25. There are no other areas in the Bay Area for the 49ers? An amusement park is going to be lost for this? And, more curiously, taxpayers are going to put up with this? Is this really the only option?

If anything, I think this proves just how far Cedar Fair is in over their head. Supposedly this park makes a decent amount of money. If they're willing to give up long-term profit for a short-term gain, that says they have too much on their plate and would like to get rid of some of it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:54 PM
Well they definitely have a price it seems, and clearly that involves the revenue they could potentially earn for the next 32 years.

They sure could do well for themselves if they play this right.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:56 PM
I'm sure that the amusement park clause in the lease ceases to be if the lessee becomes the city and the council votes to change it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 2:40 PM

If anything, I think this proves just how far Cedar Fair is in over their head.

I say, if anything it proves how low amusement parks are people's lists of things that are important in general.

If you don't think football will beat roller coasters every time - you're fooling yourself.

And more on the amusement park topic:

I cry conspiracy. They knew they were going to sell off the park when they bought it. In fact, I think that's their whole plan with the park purchases they made - kill 'em off one-by-one. With no competition CF is the only major game around. Look out SF, you're next! ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 2:56 PM
If anything, I'm surprised at how many people on a coaster enthusiast website simply don't care when the closing of amusement parks is announced. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems a lot of people are numb. Not sure why that is, nor do I understand why someone would spend so much time on a site like this when they seem so indifferent to the idea of amusement parks.

Anyway, back to sports... no surprise at all that football beats an amusement park, but why can't there be both? Half the football games- if not more- will take place after the park closes for the season. How many operating days is this going to affect? Four? Five?

I don't smell a conspiracy, just a company that bit off more than they can chew. Cedar Fair is obviously looking to unload a few parks- perhaps because they can't handle what they have- and as soon as they saw the potential for a quick gain, they put up a "For Sale" sign.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:25 PM
What's the worst thing that will happen? Great America closes, and Dorney gets a B&M stand-up for 2009? From a business standpoint they are doing just what any other corporation would do, save money by liquidating as many assets as possible. Now if they can find a way to offshore their seasonal employees and replace them with lower paid workers in India they will have the ultimate in corporate success.

Really though, Cedar Fair has already taken into account what properties they could easily get rid of, wether it be competition or profit off the sale of real estate. I am sure that residents of Santa Clara would be greatly pleased to eliminate the park, as the noise from Great America must be an issue. (Not that an NFL game would not be, but no one complains about that.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:25 PM

Not sure why that is, nor do I understand why someone would spend so much time on a site like this when they seem so indifferent to the idea of amusement parks.

I'm just biding time until I die. ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:39 PM
At least the closing of this park would get announced before it closed for the final season. :)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:40 PM
^^^I don't actively want the park to go away, but the odds of me getting to that park in the next 10 years are about 1/100, so I'm not particularly invested in it.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 4:20 PM
It is always amusing to sit back and read the posts of certain "arm chair" business people who assume that when a business makes, or in this case simply considers, a decision regarding the future of a property that they are in trouble. CF is fine. Folks here speak about the company as if they were Wall Street experts, yet they are not.

There is a similar (note the word similar - not the same) situation going on with one of the most profitable and stable company's in the world. Procter and Gamble is considering selling off Pringles, Folgers and Duracell. Three GIANTs that generate significant revenue. P&G is not in dire straits. This is not an attempt to pay off debt generated in an expansion. It is just a business decision.

It appears that CF wants to keep KGA open. However, for the right price they will consider selling. Why not? For the right price they could see the profits now, and reduce their cap expenses over the next few years by re-purposing the KGA rides elsewhere in the chain. Sounds like a win/win if the price is right.

As for the notion of closing parks, I agree to an extent that few parks is a bad thing. However, KGA is not a storied traditional park. It was part of the Marriott chain built in response to the success of KI. Don't bother with the GA and KI do not compete, I know that. The idea was that KI was successful, so why not follow the lead and build more. SF did the same. The closing of traditional parks is unfortunate and sad. The closing of a park like KGA or dare I say even KI, while unfortunate and sad, is not the same. Thirty or so years of history, versus 100 or more years.

Edited to fix spelling*** This post was edited by CoasterDad64 10/10/2007 4:21:36 PM ***

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 4:52 PM
Uh, what did the opening of Great America have to do with the success of Kings Island?


Wednesday, October 10, 2007 5:46 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds as if the team bought the park, they'd be buying all the infrastructure, rides, etc. which they would promptly close and do whatever with that suited them.

Cedar Fair would not get the rides to redistribute as they are with GL, since they do not own the land to sell, they'd be selling the park "as is" and walking away from it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 5:47 PM
I agree that CF has a price and will sell for that price. Heck, they would sell the entire company at the right price.

But. Maybe they know that Santa Clara wants GA to continue operating and that SC will never agree to a buyout that shuts down the park. So by posturing that, "hey we're willing to step aside if the city wants us to, but the city decided the park stays as is" CF is not the heavy if the stadium isn't built in Santa Clara.

CF holds the aces. Their worst case scenario is they own/lease a profitable park. And by saying no to the 49ers they maintain the Status Quo.

If someone presents them with a better scenario (and GA with less parking is not a better scenario) they will say yes. But they have no need (or ability, really) to force a better scenario into existence.

Lost in this is one fact: the city seems pretty committed to keeping GA open and operating as an amusement no matter who owns/leases the land.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 7:28 PM
Great America has been dying slowly for the past ten years or so. Let it die. What's worth saving at this sorry amusment park anyway? Burn Grizzly Burn.... If you realy miss the place that much, there's alway Six Flags Great America.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:40 PM
It'll be a shame if the park is ripped apart, but hopefully the unfortunate closing of GL will allow people to better prepare themselves for that news if it were to happen.

We can't be so naive this time around to say that it's not possible, even if it isn't something we don't want to face, because it clearly is. It's almost as if GA has the issues of Astroworld and GL blended together(parking problems/prime real estate and CF possibly in over their heads)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 9:08 PM
^ The difference being the city actually owns the park and no one, not the 49ers or CF, can act without city approval. If the city wants GA to remain open, it will remain open until 2039. If the city wants the 49ers more than they want CF running GA, it becomes a matter of will someone meet CF's price.

Don't be surprised if the city buys out CF and forces the 49ers to keep GA open as part of the stadium deal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:03 PM
My question though, is why Santa Clara? Granted 101 isn't as congested at Lawrence / GA Parkway / De La Cruz compared to the 85 interchange. Isn't there cheaper land in Redwood City or East Palo Alto?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:15 PM
CoasterDude318 said: Uh, what did the opening of Great America have to do with the success of Kings Island?

Reread the post and maybe you will figure it out, or don't reread it.

Kings Island was successful, so the powers that be at Marriott wanted to emulate the model. Think Moe's and Chipotle, Marble Slab and Cold Stone, BW3s and Beef O'Brady's. Possible competitors or simply users of the same model in either case, Marriott wanted some of the action.

Jazma said: Cedar Fair would not get the rides to redistribute as they are with GL, since they do not own the land to sell, they'd be selling the park "as is" and walking away from it.

It all depends upon the sales contract. To your point, the 49er's probably have no need or desire for the rides - CF would most likely keep the ones they wanted, sell or leave behind the rest.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:38 PM
^^^ I wonder if Cedar Fair would still manage it like Gilroy Gardens then, or if they'd be out of there.

Anybody know what the average attendance was/is at Great America?
*** This post was edited by Jazma 10/10/2007 10:44:44 PM ***


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