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SeaWorld Entertainment Announces Revenue, Attendance Losses Amid Pandemic

 August 10, 2020 at 11:53 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 With theme parks closed by the pandemic for months. No one was expecting good news and sea world second quarter economic report, but the actual numbers are about as bad as bad can get both revenue and attendance fell. 96% at SeaWorld 12 parks across the country. Only nine have since reopened as San Diego SeaWorld remains shuttered joining us as San Diego union Tribune, reporter Lori Weisberg. She covers tourism and the hospitality industry. Laurie, welcome Speaker 2: 00:30 Come to the show. Thanks for having me Speaker 1: 00:32 Tell us what this 96% drop means in actual decreased revenue. What are the actual numbers? Speaker 2: 00:39 So, um, during this quarter, that was April, may and June, which is a very critical time for the theme park industry. Cause you're just heading into really crucial summer season. So for those three months, their revenue was 18 million. Um, a year ago, the same time, it was 406 million. So you can see where the huge difference that is and see, well, the entertainment has 12 parks, including SeaWorld San Diego and it's aquatic a parking chiller Vista. So they shut down all the parks in mid March in June, they started opening their parks in Texas and Florida. So they started getting some attendance, some revenue. And of course, San Diego zero, because we still don't know in California when theme parks will be allowed to open. So that's why you had such little revenue as such little attendance. Speaker 1: 01:32 And what's been the reaction of the financial markets to this news was this incredible drop expected. Speaker 2: 01:38 Yeah, this was expected. So, I mean, I mean, Disney just recently reporting billions of dollars in losses. Um, gonna expect the same from universal. So this isn't unexpected and SeaWorld is doing what you'd expect. It's raising money through issuing high interests, corporate debt so that it has cash on hand so far done more than $700 million worth of that. Um, we did it in April and it did again just about a week ago, so it can prop up the company while it navigates this difficult terrain. And they also, of course they did what you'd expect. Initially they furloughed 95% of their employees. Their upper level executives took pay cuts. They put off for big of attractions opening, including a big rollercoaster in San Diego. They put off the opening of those until next year. You should note, they mentioned today that they still own a, sort of about 40 to $50 million in unpaid bills on those, those attractions, because they didn't have that. They didn't have the revenue to pay that off Speaker 1: 02:46 SeaWorld parks that are open. What kind of business are they doing? Speaker 2: 02:51 Break out attendance for any of their parts. So we don't know how many people are coming, but what they did say today was between the end of June and August 2nd, from when they started to open, they saw about an average 15% increase in attendance. It's still though, I'm sure, you know, we can see from the numbers, it's still very little, so it's hard to know how well they're doing. And then one of those parks in Virginia, they only left them the state of Virginia only less than have 1000 people in the park at a time. So they're at very reduced numbers and they acknowledged today that they would have to do about 40% of the business. They did last year to just start to break even, you know, not, may not be profitable, but to actually breaking them. So they, they really obviously need San Diego to open, but they also need the numbers and the coronavirus pandemic to get better because they're having to do, you know, much reduced capacity, not open every day of the week. And then before, you know, it, the summer season will be over. Speaker 1: 03:56 Have any of the other major attractions in San Diego released financial statements, reflecting losses due to the pandemic. Speaker 2: 04:04 Um, we don't know really about Lego land. That's owned by a company called Merlin entertainments. And again, they wouldn't break it down by by parks. So we wouldn't know. Um, but obviously, you know, Lego land itself has been closed since mid March and, and chomping at the bit to reopen the USS midway reopened. But I, I don't know if they've released any kind of numbers and of course the museums there were supposed to open it and then that was shut down again. So while we really, yeah, we don't really have much in the way to report. And then of course there's Belmont park in mission beach. They started to open their rides, but they weren't supposed to, they got shut down by the County. So they just, but they can stay open because they have people coming through for restaurants and harmful type games, that sort of thing. But I mean, everybody's, everybody's taking such a huge hit. Speaker 1: 04:58 The world is really the only amusement theme park that we have any real numbers on in San Diego. How can a theme park come back after this incredible slump? I mean, is there a chance that they won't, Speaker 2: 05:10 No one is talking, no one's talking about that. They won't. And that's why I think that money that they're raising, um, is so important. Um, and obviously, um, in California they haven't reopened, but cause they have already been able to open their parts in, in States like Texas and Florida, they are getting some revenue, of course, not enough as I said to break even, but I think they can survive in what's. One odd thing I was surprised to hear today was, um, here, they're struggling just to get by. And yet they said that money that they raised that maybe some of their rivals, or maybe just other theme park companies that maybe can't weather the storm there. They said that this could be a strategic opportunity for them to maybe acquire a or a struggling park and then they could remake it into one of their C roll branded parks known as Sesame place. So there, even as they are struggling to survive, they're looking at opportunities, you know, fire sales that might help them get through this storm and come out the other end, even more profitable. Speaker 1: 06:15 Wow. Well, I've been speaking with San Diego union Tribune, reporter Lori Weisberg, and thank you for that, Lori. Speaker 2: 06:22 Thank you.

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SeaWorld Entertainment Monday announced major revenue and attendance declines in the second quarter stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
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