Well, it has definitely been a rollercoaster for SeaWorld Entertainments over the last few years and this year seems to have had many ups and downs for the company. Back in April, after theme parks were closed, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were reports that SeaWorld were in serious trouble.

Luckily, in early May it was reported that SeaWorld were taking new measures to stay afloat during closure and had secured enough loans to survive the year. In line with government guidelines and with new health and safety measures in place, a phased reopening of its parks with reduced capacity began with Aquatica in Texas as of June 6. SeaWorld Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Aquatica and Discovery Cove closely followed on June 11 and although SeaWorld Orlando was reported to have had a rough reopening day, it continues operating daily apart from Tuesdays and Thursdays.

SeaWorld's preliminary results which were released at the end of July for the second quarter of 2020 (April-June), unsurprisingly looked bleak, considering majority of the three months the theme parks were shut due to COVID-19. 

SeaWorld's second Quarter 2020 results

On August 10, SeaWorld released their actual results for the second quarter of 2020 (April-June), confirming what had already been floated in the preliminary results:

  • Attendance was 0.3 million guests, a decline of 6.2 million guests from the second quarter of 2019.
  • Total revenue was $18.0 million, a decline of $388.0 million from the second quarter of 2019.
  • Net loss was $131.0 million, a decline of $183.7 million from the second quarter of 2019.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $53.8 million, a decline of $203.5 million from the second quarter of 2019.
SeaWorld Orlando
Image: SeaWorld

This report also included the results for the first 6 months of 2020, which reads as follows:

  • Attendance was 2.6 million guests, a decline of 7.2 million guests from the first six months of 2019.
  • Total revenue was $171.6 million, a decline of $455.0 million from the first six months of 2019.
  • Net loss was $187.5 million, a decline of $203.2 million from the first six months of 2019. 
  • Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $84.7 million, a decline of $250.8 million from the first six months of 2019. 

The Interim CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc, Marc Swanson said:

"I am extremely proud of our team's performance during this unprecedented and challenging time. Together, we have taken significant actions to reduce our costs, carefully manage our cash flows, fortify our balance sheet and liquidity position, implement enhanced health and safety protocols for our employees, guests and animals and successfully re-open and welcome guests back to nine of our twelve parks."

Manta, SeaWorld Orlando
Image: Theme Park Tourist

Although there were no surprises in this report regarding the decline in attendance and revenue during the second quarter of 2020. It confirmed the encouraging news, outlined in the preliminary results, that there has been an increase in the Annual Pass Holder base and in Discovery Cove bookings for 2021. Hopefully this enthisiasm for visiting SeaWorld parks in 2021 will continue to increase especially when heading into next year when the following new attractions are now set to open at the SeaWorld parks across the US:

  • Ice Breaker at SeaWorld Orlando
  • Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa
  • Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
  • Emperor at SeaWorld San Diego
Icebreaker track, SeaWorld Orlando
Image: SeaWorld

SeaWorld Announces Closing of Senior Secured Notes

On August 5, SeaWorld Entertainments Inc announced it had successfully secured a "private offering of $500.0 million aggregate principal amount of second-priority senior secured notes due 2025".

This is good news for SeaWorld's financial position and it is reported that proceeds from the issuance of the notes will be used to repay outstanding borrowings, for working capital and other general corporate purposes.

Could SeaWorld Be Looking to Buy a Failed Theme Park?

SeaWorld skyline
Image: SeaWorld

Earlier this week, The OC Register reported that on a call with analysts, Marc Swanson, Interim CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc said that due to their recently required $500 million secured notes offer it gave the increased flexibility to invest in the future.

It was implied that SeaWorld could be looking to purchase a property, such as a water park, hotel or something like that to potentially convert into a Sesame Place. At a time when unfortunately many of these types of properties may struggle to survive in the current financial climate, it may be a good time for SeaWorld to swoop in and extend there offerings going forward.

In the recent Second Quarter of 2020 financial report, Marc Swanson said:

"With the completion of our recent notes offering and covenant adjustment, we have significantly strengthened our balance sheet and liquidity position – providing us enhanced operating flexibility, the ability to continue to make long-term investments in our business and the capacity to take advantage of strategic opportunities that may arise from market dislocations."

It will be exciting to see where this leads for SeaWorld and as always to keep up with the news from SeaWorld, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens and all other theme parks in the US and around the World, check out our News Page and Facebook Page.

Although SeaWorld had a rocky opening back in June, it is staying open and is indeed hosting a number of events during the next few months including modified Halloween and Christmas offerings...


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