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 both the fourth quarter 2107 as well as the entirety of past year, and even though many were 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, that unfortunately did not happen in 2016, and 2017 was unfortunately nothing short of a total disaster. According to SeaWorld's annual report, attendance at all of SeaWorld's parks (including San Diego, San Antonio, and the flagship Orlando park) fell to 20.8 million guests, which is the lowest attendance at the park since 2010, and once again down from the 22 million guests who visited SeaWorld's parks the year before. The only slightly good news here is that the fourth-quarter attendance was down only 2.7%, showing that at least the pace of decline is slowing down, potentially hinting that SeaWorld could be finding the floor of its attendance losses.
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...
Revenue is continuing to drop year over year
As you might expect given the dismal attendance reports coming out of SeaWorld theme parks, the publicly traded company reported that it lost about $200 million in fiscal year 2017. The only silver lining to this precipitous drop was that it was not quite as bad as the year before, when SeaWorld lost $215 million. Overall revenue was $1.26 billion, down from $1.34 billion the year before.