Six Flags reports decrease of attendance and revenue compared to 2019 with massive increase in per capita spending

Posted Wednesday, July 28, 2021 9:34 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the press release:

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, today reported attendance of 8.5 million and revenue of $460 million for second quarter 2021. Results for second quarter 2021 are not directly comparable to the same prior-year period due to the COVID-19-related suspension of operations and operating restrictions that began in mid-March 2020. Therefore, the company believes it is most relevant to compare its results in the second quarter of 2021 to the second quarter of 2019.

As expected, due to the continuing effects of the pandemic, the company reported lower attendance for second quarter 2021 compared to the same period in 2019. As of May 29, the company had opened all its parks, and, as of June 15, none of the parks were subject to mandated capacity constraints, with the exception of the theme park in Montreal and the two parks in Mexico.

Year-to-date through July 25, which includes the July 4th holiday period in both 2021 and 2019, average attendance at the company’s parks during the periods they were open in 2021 was approximately 82% compared to the same periods in 2019.1 Attendance through this time of year historically includes a significant contribution from pre-booked groups, inclusive of school groups who typically book in advance. Pre-booked group attendance has been significantly diminished due to the pandemic. Excluding pre-booked groups, attendance at the company’s open parks year-to-date through July 25 was approximately 89% compared to the same period in 2019 at those same parks.1 Pre-booked groups historically comprise a smaller proportion of attendance during the remainder of the year.

“Our results this quarter are due to the dedication of our team members, who really pulled together to safely reopen our parks,” said Mike Spanos, President and CEO. “While the operating environment continues to be challenging, we are encouraged by the initial progress on our transformation plan, which contributed to our improving revenue and guest spending per capita trends. Our goal is to delight both our guests and our shareholders by providing classic Six Flags thrills, enhanced with modern technology, while keeping a careful eye on costs.”


Results of first half 2021 compared to first half 2019

The decrease in attendance was due to the temporary pandemic-related limitations on park operations at several of the company’s parks in 2021, and capacity restrictions at some of the parks that were open, partially offset by the change to the company’s reporting calendar.

The $64 million decrease in revenue was driven by a $34 million reduction in sponsorship, international agreements, and accommodations revenue, primarily related to the termination of the company’s contracts in China and Dubai in 2020 and 2019, respectively; and a reduction in sponsorship revenue and accommodations revenue due to the pandemic. Excluding sponsorship, international agreements, and accommodations revenue, total revenue declined by $30 million or 5%. The decrease was a result of lower attendance, net of the attendance increase related to the fiscal quarter reporting change, partially offset by higher guest spending per capita.

The company partially offset the decrease in revenue with lower operating costs. The reduction in operating costs reflected cost savings measures during the first six months driven by the company’s transformation plan, lower advertising costs, a benefit from the proceeds received in connection with one of its terminated international development agreements in China, and lower salaries, wages and benefits due to the fact that several of the company’s parks that were operating in first quarter 2019 were not operating in first quarter 2021. In the second quarter, wage rate increases and higher incentive costs to attract and retain team members were partially offset by fewer total employee hours worked due to the tight labor market.

Total guest spending per capita in first half 2021 increased 21% compared to first half 2019. Applying the pro forma allocation from Admissions spending to In-park spending in 2019, Admissions spending per capita increased 22% and In-park spending per capita increased 20%. The increase in Admissions spending per capita was driven by the company’s revenue management initiatives and a shorter average season for 2021 season passes versus 2019. Most 2021 season passes have been sold later in the season than in 2019, resulting in season pass revenue being recognized over a shorter time frame and higher Admissions spending per capita. The increase in In-park spending per capita was due to early progress on several of the company’s transformation initiatives and strong consumer spending trends.

Read the whole press release on Business Wire.

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