The second quarter for SeaWorld looks a bit grim to say the least.
During the same period of 2012, the SeaWorld parks division turned in a $39.1 million profit, but 2013 saw a huge contraction of gate attendances that threw a ¢15.9 million loss.
Overall sales dipped 3% during the period on a like for like basis.
SeaWord cited bad weather and the fact that guests were ‘holding back’ in anticipation for the Antarctica attraction to open in May 2013.
Looking at that a little more closely, it is hard to accept the weather argument, considering that Disney and Universal have not recorded similar drops in revenues during that period.
The Antarctica argument is also a little confusing, many guests are in Orlando on ‘big trips’ that are planned well in advance and although Antarctica is a great attraction, it isn’t a ‘vacation changing’ kind of influence.
Antarctica can certainly ‘pull people in’ but its absence wouldn’t necessarily ‘hold people off’ as SeaWorld seem to claim.
As I mentioned yesterday, the buzz about Blackfish hasn’t really been as bad as I thought it could have been, but it doesn’t take much to dent a big business like SeaWorld’s!
With 5,358,000 recorded visitors in 2013 a 3% drop represents roughly 160,000 visitors a year. If that amount were affected by the Blackfish story, you could begin to think that SeaWorld might have got off lightly, particularly when you break that annual figure down into a daily amount.
A 3% drop in SeaWorld attendances works out at a rather possible 440 absent guests a day!
Unfortunately that is a very possible kind of effect that Blackfish might have on attendances.
Fingers crossed that SeaWorld recovers with a flourish, but in the meantime, the PR teams will have their work cut out until SeaWorld swings away from a capture and performance business model, over to rescue, breeding and exhibit.
That is an inevitable, if painful decision that will have to come sooner rather than later if this magnificent park in Orlando is to survive!
- SeaWorld Tumbles After Cutting 2013 Sales Forecast (bloomberg.com)
- SeaWorld are backed by Judge over their Improvements (seaworldorlandoblog.wordpress.com)
- Trouble in the Sea World? – Possibly, In the name of Blackfish! (seaworldorlandoblog.wordpress.com)
- Judge: SeaWorld trying to comply with safety goals (kansascity.com)