Liens, which are specialized legal action which can be placed on a construction project whereby an asset can be seized if debts are unpaid, are fairly commonplace for theme parks, as construction workers, contractors, and sub-contractors all work together to ensure everyone gets paid on major projects. Projects at almost every major theme park in the world has been subject to this type of legal action, and In fact, in the early 2000's, the Magic Kingdom's own Cinderella Castle had a lien placed on it for a short amount of time! However, it looks like SeaWorld parks are now being hit with several liens thanks to unpaid bills piling up due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The most recent lien against SeaWorld was filed on June 10, by Premier Rides, the ride manufacturer contracted to build SeaWorld’s Ice Breaker roller coaster. According to the lien, Ice Breaker's total cost is $8.2 million and Premier rides has said that SeaWorld currently owes $2.7 million for work that was done between August 17, 2018 and March 13, 2020.
This is now the third lien brought against SeaWorld Entertainments Inc in recent weeks with SeaWorld San Diego reportedly being sued for missed payments on their new ride, Emperor and Screamscape reporting that RMC Inc has filed a $3.5 million lien against Busch Gardens for Iron Gwazi.
It has certainly been a rocky road for SeaWorld over the last few years and although things seemed slightly more positive back at the beginning of March with SeaWorld reporting positive attendance and revenue gains in most recent financial results, which was great to hear. Unfortunately since then, with the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in the closure of all theme parks for almost three months, financial difficulties were to be expected for all, and back in mid April, SeaWorld appeared to be in serious trouble.
When SeaWorld closed all of its parks back in March, unlike Disney and Universal they did not continue paying their workers for any length of time, furloughing all but the most essential employees immediately and cancelling their healthcare benefits.
At the beginning of May, SeaWorld quietly released its financial report with the theme park operator, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc confirming that they are losing a lot of money due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, with their quarterly revenue down $60 Million.