Ever since 2012, the hits have kept on coming for SeaWorld. Despite the fact that SeaWorld Orlando is currently the least expensive major theme park to visit in central Florida, has an annual passholder program with serious perks, and offers some truly aggressive deals and discounts, SeaWorld has not bounced back from its attendance lows in 2014, 2015, and 2016, and in 2017 has suffered from cutbacks and talk of a potential partial purchase.
Unfortunately, earlier this week SeaWorld Orlando released their financial results for their most recent quarter, and even though many are hoping this park will turn things around eventually, it looks like things are still getting worse for this park. Much, much worse:
Attendance is down by huge amounts year over year, again
SeaWorld Orlando has been in an attendance slump for the past half a decade, and though it was looking like the park was going to turn things around under new CEO Joel Manby, that unfortunately did not happen in 2016, and 2017 has been nothing short of a total disaster. Earlier this year it was reported that attendance at all of SeaWorld's parks (including San Diego, San Antonio, and the flagship Orlando park) attendance = dropped 14.9 percent (approximately 491,000 visitors) during the first quarter of 2017. And even though SeaWorld reported that its theme parks had a 2.3 percent increase in attendance during the second quarter of the year (which included the Easter holiday in 2017), when we factor out holiday timing and take the first half of the year as a whole, things look pretty bad as attendance across the board dropped 3.8% from last year to 8.93 million, a truly staggering low.
And while many might have hoped for a last0minute surge for this park, SeaWorld reported earlier this week that attendance fell by 732,000 visitors in the most recent quarter, compared with the same period in 2016, which of course was down double digits as well. Of course, like Walt Disney World, SeaWorld blamed the decline on hurricanes in Florida and Texas, which caused temporary closures at the parks in both of these regions. However, SeaWorld did concede that fewer domestic visitors and competitive pressures have been hurting performance specifically at the Orlando flagship park, which is where the company is hurting most.
Unfortunately, this attendance drop is simply a continuation of SeaWorld's very bad 2016 and 2017, and has resulted in another problem which is of particular importance to investors...
SeaWorld's revenue losing streak continues
As you might expect given the dismal attendance reports coming out of SeaWorld theme parks, the publicly traded company reported that revenues during this period also dropped about 10 percent from $485.3 million to $437.7 million in the third quarter. In addition, it was reported that net profits also plunged 16 percent during this most-recent quarter to $55 million from $65.7 million a year earlier. And though CEO Joel Manby said during a conference call that he is sure the park will rebound, something else that was not said may hint that Manby may not be as confident as he seems...