Zippin Pippin brings 45% boost in revenue to Bay Beach

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

The city owned Bay Beach amusement park brought in more than $226,000 over last year because of the new Zippin Pippen roller coaster, with more than $726,000. That represents a more than 45% increase. The city was anticipating about a 20% increase.

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Jeff's avatar

I wonder where all of the haters are that were predicting the end of days because they had to dip into the slush fund a little to build this. You know, the people who said the city had no business building the coaster, and would never make the money back.

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Interesting that the mayor says it is about lifting up the whole park. The rest of the rides and overall attandance are both sharply down. Apparently people spent a lot of money in the arcade.

Tekwardo's avatar

C'mon, Jeff, don't give him a reason to come back and start posting. It's been nice not having him around. Even an 'I Told You So' isn't worth him coming back and spreading his garbage.

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Jason Hammond's avatar

The city owned Bay Beach amusement park brought in more than $226,000 over last year because of the new Zippin Pippen roller coaster, with more than $726,000.

Is it just me, or does that sentance not make sense?

Does that mean they've made $226,000 more in the same period as last year for a total of $726,000?

The coaster has brought in $110,000 so far and the attendance on the other rides is down. So, $116,000 plus the loss on the other rides is being spent somewhere else. I guess that isn't too hard to believe, A family comes in and spends a few bucks on a few coaster rides and then maybe has something to eat.

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Tekwardo's avatar

I thought so too, Jason, but I think that's what they meant, that the park took in $226000 more (is that 45%? I don't feel like doing the math but it doesn't seem far off).

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Jeff's avatar

This missing number is the baseline, which was $500k. 500 * 1.45 = 725. Or $726,000.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

I think a decrease in revenue on the other rides is to be expected because the new roller coaster would draw riders away from those rides.

Can you imagine where the attendance would be without the coaster? The economy isn't so hot right now (much better last year), despite what some are telling us.

rollergator's avatar

^I'd actually expect the opposite, that attendance around the coaster would increase revenue from the other attractions. The foot-traffic principle as applied in the mini-golf announcement at Universal/IoA (by the way, it's going in on the grassy area out front to the right of the walkway as you enter the complex). To my way of thinking, a wooden coaster brings people around, even if they're not riding (in South Florida it's called "the Boomers effect" - that uber-arcade wasn't ever really busy, until Hurricane blew in). My guess is that now that the wooden coaster is going away, the arcade (and bumper boats, go-karts, mini-golf, etc.) will all suffer, and that Boomer's location might even fail altogether. Maybe they'll bulldoze Hurricane, realizze their mistake, and purchase Starliner! ;)

Now I'm seriously curious, because I understand your logic as does the wooden coaster affect nearby rides. Also, how about nearby hotels, restaurants, etc. I tend to think a wooden coaster is like a rising tide - it lifts ALL the boats!

Jeff's avatar

Even in a POP park, other rides see decreases in ridership. If overall revenue increases, it's still a win.

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CoasterDemon's avatar

I have no clue where this conversation is going or what it's about. All I know is that ride kicks butt; some people were thinking it may kinda sorta do for Bay Beech what Raven did for Holiday World (sure a little different, but I'm sure most of you get my point).

The rest of the park is sweet, small and charming with lots of classic rides. And a huge bargain too! Great location; excellent and friendly employees...


Gator, I think it's as simple as this. The average visitor rides X number of rides during an average visit. Adding a new ride really doesn't change that number, so as you add new rides ridership does decrease at other attractions IF your park is demand for your other rides is less than their capacity.

Also, if the demand for the roller coaster exceeds capacity then a sizable portion of your guests are waiting in line instead of filling seats at other rides.

The average number of rides may increase if you're adding the new attraction to increase capacity.

Parks add rides for different reasons. In this case its more of an upgrade to the overall park versus an addition to increase capacity. Holiday World has in past done things to increase capacity like adding new rides and the second trains to Raven and Legend.

You're right about foot traffic. The new coaster may increase ridership at neighboring rides because of the proximity, but others that are away from the action of the new ride may take a hit.

Big operators like Disney pay close attention to these numbers because on busy days demand exceeds capacity at all attractions and if the average guest can't visit X number of attractions in an average visit then survey scores and guest satisfaction falls sharply. I've heard the magic number is 10. That's also how Disney figures out the park capacity at any given time.

With the addition of the ZipPip it has reduced ridership on other rides throughout the park and thus reduced wait times at the other rides in the park (Train, Merry-go-round, Ferris Wheel, Bumper cars, SCAT, Tilt-a-whirl) should be reduced which is a good thing for everyone else.

The coaster is a great addition to this park, and as my local park I couldn't be more thrilled with the coaster.

Coastin' from Green Bay, WI

Sounds like there is a little history revision paralleling back patting going on here. The argument never was about whether or not this venture would succeed or fail (moment to note that declaring success one month in reminds me of Bush making victory speeches in a pilot jacket). The argument has always been whether roller-coaster building is an appropriate use of tax-payer funds.

If this venture proves to be a long term success, congratulations to Green Bay and their mayor for making a wise, but risky decision. Congratulations to those of you on this thread who've supported this government intervention from the beginning as wise policy.

I would personally not be willing to label one month's receipts for a "new" ride as indicative of future operation successes, but there is no doubt that a current snap-shot looks good for the mayor and those who support this government intervention. The question is whether the picture will look the same 5-10 years down the road. Will the cost overruns, maintenance, security prove a boon to the bottom line? At one moth the ride is running good, the maintenance is relatively cheap, and the audience is starved. Can and will these factors sustain?

I don't have an answer to that question. It certainly did not work in Memphis circa 2010's. It certainly did not work in Miami circa 2010's. It has worked in southern Indiana and other places. But these were private ventures. How will this work in the public domain? Will they do the proper upkeep? Can they afford to do the proper upkeep? Will the economy support the coaster long term? Is the first month receipts indicative of sustained success or the result of curiosity?

These are all questions that are impossible to answer or predict today. As such, I'm of the opinion that this was an unnecessary and unreasonable risk for the taxpayer.

I don't believe rollercoaster/amusement park building is an essential service that should fall to any government entity. My opinion will not change whether this individual example fails or succeeds long term. If Green Bay is indeed a hot market for this type of venture, I would have thought the private sector should have been the party taking the risk, not the taxpayer.

Feel free to disagree...

Jeff's avatar

You say it's not about the success or failure, then go on to talk about how it's too early to call it one way or another. If that were the case, wouldn't your argument have ended after the first paragraph?

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eightdotthree's avatar

They are charging too little for it at $1.

DaveStroem's avatar

I'm a cheap ass bastard and I agree that $1 is too little for a coaster ride.

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rollergator's avatar

Knoebels prices for individual coaster rides seem to be the lowest around....go cheaper than that, and you are definitely leaving money on the table. IMO... ;)

P.S. "Appropraite uses of taxpayer funds" apparently include give-backs and subsidies for those who need the money the least...but don't include things like community-building, infrastructure improvements, schools, teachers, firefighters, police, healthcare, etc. Now I see why Reagan was such a socialist... ;)

Last edited by rollergator,

Actually there are three arguments.

1. Government should not be participating in roller-coaster building.

2. One month of seemingly good data is a little early to declare any venture a success.

3. Those who take one poorly written article as a moment to revise history and beat their chest are a bit childish and insecure.

Feel free to disagree.

Raven-Phile's avatar

Well, allow me to retort.

1. This place was a hell of a lot more fun without Aamilj.

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