SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment has posted some extremely positive results for the 3rd quarter of 2018, which is the third time this year that the chain has posted positive results. We call that a winning streak kids.
Attendance is up over 9% versus the same time in 2017, revenue is up over 10% and income is around $ 96 million, which is huge for the company. The results, released Monday, show positive increases in attendance and in earnings, and shows that guests are responding extremely well to the new pricing structures, and additions that the parks have made to not only the rides and attractions, but also the massive food festivals and events.
Here’s a little bit on how the 3rd quarter and the year has shaped up for SeaWorld Parks:
• Attendance increased by 0.7 million guests, or 9.7%, to 8.3 million guests from the third quarter of 2017.
• Total revenue increased by $45.5 million, or 10.4%, to $483.2 million from the third quarter of 2017.
• Net income was $96.0 million, compared to net income of $55.0 million in the third quarter of 2017. Net income for the third quarter of 2018 includes approximately $3.9 million of restructuring charges as discussed further below. Net income in the third quarter of 2017 includes approximately $5.1 million of restructuring charges as discussed further below.
First Nine Months 2018 Highlights
• Attendance increased by 1.4 million guests, or 8.7%, to 18.0 million guests from the first nine months of 2017.
• Total revenue increased by $94.4 million, or 9.5%, to $1.09 billion from the first nine months of 2017.
• Net income was $55.8 million, compared to a net loss of $181.9 million in the first nine months of 2017. Net income for the first nine months of 2018 includes approximately $34.0 million of certain pre-tax expenses as discussed further below. Net loss in the first nine months of 2017 includes approximately $293.5 million of certain pre-tax expenses, including a non-cash goodwill impairment charge, as discussed further below.
The company is also looking forward to a huge 4th quarter, as every park in the chain will roll out massive Christmas celebrations beginning as soon as November 17th, which is next weekend! A lot of the parks are also doing smaller festivals until Christmas, with SeaWorld Orlando kicking off the Craft Beer Festival.
“We are pleased to report another quarter with strong financial results,” said John Reilly, Interim Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “These results continue to show the strength of our underlying business model and the effectiveness of our strategic pricing strategies, marketing and communications initiatives and the positive reception of our new rides, attractions and events. We continued to see a double-digit increase in season pass sales revenue this quarter, further underscoring the effectiveness of our strategies. Third quarter attendance and revenue growth demonstrated continued strength during our peak summer season. Our increase in total revenue per capita was driven by a 7.4% increase in in-park per capita spending that was attributable to our improved culinary and merchandise offerings and other in-park offerings including our front of the line pass Quick Queue. And, as we have communicated before, we remain laser focused on identifying and executing on additional cost savings and creating efficiencies that will improve our margins and lead to increased profitability.”
“We have just completed another successful season of Halloween events and will soon begin our annual Christmas events across our theme parks featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer™,” continued Reilly. “We are excited about bringing our guests what we believe is the best holiday season entertainment value in the industry. In addition, we recently announced our line-up of new rides, attractions and events across our parks for 2019. 2019 will feature what I believe is our best line up ever of new rides, attractions and events with a new ride, attraction or event in almost every one of our 12 parks. We are looking forward to the many brand new thrilling experiences coming to our parks next year. We are also enthusiastic about our new season pass program. In October, we introduced our new season pass structure and pricing that makes our parks more affordable than ever before with increased flexibility, more variety and the best and most valuable benefits we have ever offered. We have significant scope to improve our pass base and to increase loyalty among our guests and the predictability and recurring nature of our revenues.”
If you haven’t been keeping up with SeaWorld plans for 2019, they have a massive year planned across the board, which should help keep the momentum going. SeaWorld Orlando will unveil a new land based on Sesame Street, and will increase their festival offerings so that there is something happening just about every weekend. Aquatica Orlando will get a new family thrill slide with KareKare Curl.
Busch Gardens Tampa will celebrate its 60th birthday with a new coaster, Tigris, and new celebrations.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg will be revealing Finnegans Flyers, and Cutback Water Coaster.
SeaWorld San Antonio will bring a brand new Turtle Reef attraction with Aquatica bringing Ihus Breakaway. And it was confirmed that, yes, SeaWorld San Antonio will be getting a new Orca show soon. The original plan was to phase out the “entertainment” shows and replace them with a more educational version of the show, like San Diego has done with their Orca Encounter, but it seems like that plan has been delayed and new show will be a happy medium between entertainment and educational. More will come out about that new show in the coming months.
SeaWorld San Diego will get a coaster type attraction with Tidal Twister.
The big hurdle for a lot of the parks next year will be stiff competition from the likes of Disney, which will use the force and bring out Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Disneyland will unveil their version in May, with Walt Disney World rumored to be dropping in December.Universal will open their new Harry Potter themed coaster in 2019 as well, all of which should give SeaWorld some very stiff competition. However, SeaWorld has a habit of unveiling their attractions months ahead of the other parks.
Then there’s the problem of who will be CEO. Currently John Reilly is the Interim CEO and has been doing things right so far. As far as we can tell, SeaWorld could end up keeping Reilly as permanent CEO. When things are going good, you definitely don’t want to rock the boat, and Reilly has a proven track record, starting with the company when he was a teenager. Let’s hope the board feels the same way.
With all the positive news, it’s looking like SeaWorld is definitely looking up. Are you planning a visit?