SeaWorld suffers a visitor drought
The company's parks have witnessed a 6% decline in visitors, prompting questions about the impact of a negative documentary.
Mix together killer whales, a negative documentary and bad weather, and what do you get? If you're SeaWorld (SEAS), all three ingredients apparently have created a visitor drought.
The SeaWorld parks have seen a 6% decline in visitors during the first half of the year, although the cause of the downturn isn't entirely clear. SeaWorld rejects the notion that a documentary called "Blackfish," which is critical about the treatment of killer whales in captivity, had an impact on attendance, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Amid the dry spell, SeaWorld has cut some prices, offering San Diego residents a free children's ticket when an adult ticket is bought, or a $71 value, Bloomberg reports.
But SeaWorld is denying the ticket deal is a reaction to the visitor drought, telling The Times that it's "not slashing prices, period." The discounts are part of what it describes as a typical theme park marketing technique.
Nevertheless, bargains on theme park tickets may strike some as unusual, given the never-ending upward price march for Walt Disney's (DIS) parks. A single-day ticket at Disneyland rose 6% earlier this year, and now requires $92 for entry.
SeaWorld was in the news earlier this year with the January premiere of "Blackfish," which continued to gain media coverage just as families were planning theme-park visits over winter and spring school breaks. The film, which will air on Time Warner's (TWX) CNN in October, was called a "disturbing film" by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which notes SeaWorld declined to be interviewed by the filmmakers.
To be sure, given that the film wasn't widely released, it's unclear how many potential SeaWorld visitors would have heard about or seen the movie.
SeaWorld has its own explanation about dwindling attendance: poor weather. Its parks in Florida and Virginia were impacted by unfavorable weather earlier this year, while Easter fell on a weekend that also happened to be spring break for college students, The Los Angeles Times notes.
Regardless of the reason for the drop off, investors have taken notice. SeaWorld's stock has plunged 24% since mid-July, when shares crested following its April initial stock sale.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
It would be helpful to know the attendance figures for other theme parks. Are they all down, or just Sea World? Also, the role f gas prices need to be addressed.
They've got to be out of their friggin minds!!! I just visited their website, and for an adult the ticket price is $79, or $64 with their special.
I wouldn't pay $25 to get in there. Goes to reason why "Theme Parks" have been off my radar for the last 13 years!
Good ole American Greed!
I am sure we can blame a multitude of issues that have led to the decline in SeaWorld. One, most people don't know about is how they treat their employees. My former wife, a breast cancer survivor had worked at SeaWorld for 6 years, well before the Japanese bought it. The fired her because she had to many sick days. She explained to them that Chemo Therapy left her with a compromised immune system, and as a result, she would get ill as a result of this and probably her exposure to all the kids who visit. They did not care, and she was fired. She appealed the termination with the court, and won. Their decision was you cannot fire someone just because they get sick. She always called in, and did not "abuse" any sick time. She was awarded back pay, and unemployment. However, Sea World did not offer to give her back her job. They just paid the money, and went on collecting money from you and me when we visit. Given their attitude, at least management's...I know I WILL NOT visit Sea World again. From what she told me, her story was not unique, Management at Sea World is just like Wall Street....they are out to make a buck at anybodys expense. I just know they won't get my $ ever again. Maybe they can focus their efforts on more whale research and kill a few more whales in the name of science, and dinner.
Excellent! Sea World deserves all they get.
Watch "The Cove" also to see where they get the dolphins for their shows. Bloody murderers...they round up the dolphin pods into a cove, the trainers go pick a few, then the hunters murder the rest of the dolphins. It's called Blood Cove for a reason. If you haven't seen a picture of it, you can't imagine the horror. Men with guns patrol the area to prevent any activists from helping the animals.
I'm very glad to see that their business is suffering...it should. Close down all animal shows.
Read the book, "Death At SeaWorld" before you take SeaWorld's side. They are in it for the $$$. And it is a crock if they say differently.
Parents should take their kids to see ORCAS in the wild (there are plenty of tours) or at a theater on a giant screen. Instead of seeing them do tricks like a trained dog.
I wonder about those kids that were in the audience when the last trainer that was killed. Very sad to think of the memories they will have.
I hope SeaWorld's income dries up completely and that they shut down. One of the whales that was captured in Puget Sound is at a dump of an aquarium in Miami, in a pool too small for her (Lolita is her name, google her to read about her 43 years in that miserable place). The owner won't give her up to return to Puget Sound waters because she is a money maker.
It really is all about the money....
after the killing of the trainer, Im spooked beyond words. these poor animals are living in a goldfish bowl compared to their natural habitat, orcas belong to the ocean, not to us! free them now!!!
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