For the final quarter of 2018, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment announced another increase in attendance and revenue as they go into 2019 with their heads held high. In a press release on Thursday, the company announced that the year and fourth quarter of 2018 finished strong with increases in attendance and revenue.
Fourth quarter attendance was up 8% over 2017, due in large part to a massive Christmas season at every single park, with that holiday spending helping push revenue to 5.5%. For the year, attendance was up almost 9% at 8.6% with revenue up almost 9% with 8.6%.
Here’s the breakdown of the results:
Fourth Quarter 2018 Highlights
• Attendance increased by 0.3 million guests, or 8.0%, to 4.6 million guests from the fourth quarter of 2017.
• Total revenue increased by $14.5 million, or 5.5%, to $280.0 million from the fourth quarter of 2017.
• Net loss was $11.1 million, compared to net loss of $20.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2018 includes approximately $11.7 million of certain pre-tax expenses
Fiscal 2018 Highlights
• Attendance increased by 1.8 million guests, or 8.6%, to 22.6 million guests from 2017.
• Total revenue increased by $109.0 million, or 8.6%, to $1.37 billion from 2017.
• Net income was $44.8 million, compared to a net loss of $202.4 million in 2017. Net income for 2018 includes approximately $54.0 million of certain pre-tax expenses as discussed further below. Net loss in 2017 includes approximately $301.4 million of certain pre-tax expenses, including a non-cash goodwill impairment charge
“We are pleased with our strong fourth quarter and full year financial performance,” said John Reilly, Chief Operating Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “Throughout the fourth quarter and fiscal year, we have been focused on improving our execution with more effective pricing strategies, enhanced marketing and communications initiatives and the introduction of more compelling new rides, attractions and events. These efforts have led to strong attendance and revenue growth on a quarterly and annual basis. Throughout the year, we have also increased our focus and efforts to identify and execute on cost savings initiatives and efficiencies that have contributed to improved margins and increased profitability. We believe there are significant additional opportunities to further improve and enhance our execution and to identify and execute on additional cost savings and efficiencies that will drive strong revenue and profitability in 2019.”
“We have an exciting line-up of new rides, attractions and events across our parks planned for 2019,” continued Reilly. “I believe this is our best line up ever with a new ride, attraction or event in almost every one of our 12 parks. We are also enthusiastic about our new season pass program which we introduced in October. Our new season pass structure and pricing options make enjoying our parks more affordable than ever before with increased flexibility, more variety and some of the best and most valuable benefits we have ever offered. We are encouraged by our season-pass sales so far in 2019 which are showing double-digit increases over the prior year.”
“I am thrilled to have joined this team at such an exciting time for our Company as we close out a strong year and enter into 2019,” said Gus Antorcha, Chief Executive Officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. “While we delivered stronger financial results in 2018, we continue to believe there remains significant additional opportunity for improvement. We will continue to focus on improving our pricing strategies and our marketing and communication initiatives, introducing more compelling new rides, attractions and events across our park portfolio each year and reducing unnecessary costs and improving efficiencies across our park portfolio and in the park support center. Our team is committed to continue to drive top-line and bottom-line results and to operating more efficiently than ever before. We remain confident in our ability to achieve our 2020 goal of delivering $475 million to $500 million of Adjusted EBITDA. We are excited about the future and our ability to continue to deliver meaningful operational and financial improvement that should lead to meaningful increased shareholder value.”
The real test for new CEO Gus Antorcha will come this year as the Orlando and California parks reveal huge line ups that will have to go against the juggernaut that is Star Wars at Disney.
Here’s the attraction line up for all SeaWorld parks for 2019:
• Busch Gardens Tampa Bay: Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster is a triple launch steel coaster that will catapult riders through an exhilarating array of looping twists with forward and backward motion, breath-taking drops, a 150-foot skyward surge, and an inverted heartline roll, all at more than 60 miles per hour and the 60th Anniversary Celebration commemorating 60-years of fun with 52-weeks of events including a year-round free beer promotion for guests over 21 years of age.
• SeaWorld Orlando: Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando, an immersive new land that will feature exciting rides, wet and dry play areas and interactive experiences designed to entertain the entire family including a daily party on Sesame Street and SeaWorld Orlando’s first-ever parade. Guests can explore the iconic neighborhood and walk through Abby Cadabby’s garden, visit Mr. Hooper’s store, stop by Big Bird’s nest, sit on the famous 123 stoop and meet everyone’s favorite friends from Sesame Street including Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird.
• Aquatica Orlando: KareKare Curl, a first-of-its-kind in Orlando, this family clover-tube ride sends guests soaring on a high-adrenaline, weightless adventure as they climb a vertical wave wall.
• SeaWorld San Diego: Tidal Twister, a first-of-its-kind dueling roller coaster that accelerates riders as they twist and bank just as if they are riding the tide along a tight figure-8 track that includes a dynamic roll at the center.
• SeaWorld San Antonio: Turtle Reef, a one-of-a-kind interactive sea turtle attraction that will give guests an up-close look at live threatened and endangered sea turtles. Populated with non-releasable sea turtles – turtles that are unable to survive in the wild on their own – the attraction will encourage guests to be more conscious about human impact on the oceans and environment. Sea Swinger, one of the tallest, fastest and most thrilling swing rides in the entire state of Texas – swinging riders 180-degrees in both directions while twisting them in a circle. And, Riptide Rescue, will provide younger guests and families an opportunity to board a rescue boat and set out on their own sea turtle rescue mission.
• Aquatica San Antonio: Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, a one-of-a-kind, multi-drop tower slide, the steepest in Texas where riders will drop feet-first through spiraling tubes until they reach the splash pool finale.
• Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Finnegan’s Flyer, Virginia’s first Screamin’ Swing that will take riders up more than 80 feet at speeds reaching 45 miles per hour.
• Water Country USA: Cutback Water Coaster the first Rocket BLAST coaster on the East Coast and Virginia’s first hybrid water coaster will propel riders through tunnels, up and down steep hills and speed onto the wide-open space of massive saucer-shaped features on over 850 feet of water slide.
• Sesame Place: An all-new Sesame Street Neighborhood where the iconic street will be updated to reflect the reimagined, vibrant set now seen on Sesame Street with brand-new storefronts including an updated Mr. Hooper’s Store and the iconic 123 stoop. Guests can take a stroll through Abby Cadabby’s Garden and pose for a photo in Big Bird’s Nest. And, introducing the newest (and biggest!) neighbor to Sesame Place – Mr. Snuffleupagus! Guests will be able to meet and take photos with Snuffy and Big Bird throughout the spring and summer at Abby’s Paradise Theater.