It's time for Sea World to re-brand itself
I think its overdue Sea World rebrands/renames its company and all of its parks. Before calling me crazy, consider:
-Sea World literally hasn't made money as a public company ever.
-The shows, which have always been the biggest draw for the Sea World parks, have fallen out of public favor. People used to love going to Sea World to see the whales and dolphins perform, now [all biases aside because I love Sea World] people find those shows repulsive.
-People don't seem to care about the "new" Sea World heavily pushing rescue and new rides. Even with major new rides like B&M hyper coaster, attendance is still very bad.
-There is no way Sea World in Orlando can keep up spending wise for attractions to be big draws. Universal Orlando now not only has Harry Potter which increases length of stay, they also have a water park (Aquatica was a big draw for SWO) and Universal is also greatly expanding its hotel portfolio. No doubt the increased length of stay at Universal hurts Sea World. Both Disney and UO are now giant mega-resorts with their own hotels and water parks. People only have so much time and money on a vacation and they won't pass up on Harry Potter, Super Nintendo, or Star Wars for Sea World.
-Sea World in California can't compete with Universal or Disney attractions wise either...and California is the root of all their legislative problems (which they gave up trying to fight, smartly so because it would have been a huge waste of time and money).
-Ok so that's bad news their two biggest market parks are in trouble, but also consider that San Antonio is highly competitive as well. The coaster lovers are going to Six Flags, there are other things for tourists to do like the Alamo and River Walk, and the yuppies with kids are scarred by (what Scott Maxwell points out as the "Sea World stink).
-They can't keep losing money forever and cutting costs without increases in attendance/revenue is not a feasible long term business strategy. The cost cuts have to happen, but at some point in time business has to pick up. Attendance to most all other parks not only in Orlando, but all over the country, is up over the past 15 years.
Scott Maxwell recently wrote a report in the Sentinel about how they should rebrand SWO to Busch Gardens Orlando (the article can be read here)
So Busch Gardens Orlando, Busch Gardens San Antonio, Busch Gardens San Diego?
Personally I would take it a step further. I've searched the 10k's up and down for some sort of licensing fee revenue but can't find anything. Both Busch Gardens parks seem to be doing well but they are basically free advertising for a company it doesn't have anything to do with anymore. Why not just rebrand the whole company and rename all the parks to something new?
I didn't want to put this in the topic because it deviates from it, but Sea Worlds current path is clearly on the road to bankruptcy. And considering the parks continue to lose huge amounts of money year after year, and are going to have a very difficult time competing in their markets as theme parks no matter what they do, does anyone think the land might be more valuable as
This seems to be based on the presumption - an incorrect one - that sea world cannot be “sea world” without the whale show.
Changing the name to Busch Gardens makes no sense. SeaWorld is tailored to the ocean theme. It’s more aquarium than safari. The name is fine, but the image needs updating. Thus, convert the Orcas to an exhibit and stop doing the shows, which appears boring. The parks should be taken private.
For someone who reckons they “love Seaworld “ you go a long way to bash the brand and err on the side of the “hate Seaworld “ fraternity, that are still a big thorn in the side of a company that needs support right now, and are desperately trying to do the right thing. Being a loyal passholder for 15 years I’m saddening by the happenings of the past 5 years, and realize there is a very long way to go before they are back to pre Blackfish days.
The difference between you and me is that while I like the parks (they are great parks and I always go to SWO a few times a year), I also don't let it be a bias on realistically what is going on with the company.
It will be interesting to see how the brand fares in cultures with different concepts on animal rights like UAE and, presumably, China in the future.
>>>but because the BG brand offers greater opportunity moving forward.
Chad- True, international recognition could be a big factor in Orlando where they draw from across the globe, as well as future Asian parks as I mentioned. Also considering how Discovery Cove fits in with the SeaWorld brand, I do really doubt they would make that change in Orlando.
I agree that SeaWorld needs to make some drastic changes, but rebranding isn't the answer. I just can't see how that would encourage more people to visit, as those who are against SeaWorld because its SeaWorld would likely see what happened and still avoid the place, while those who aren't in the know may pass on the park as the new name doesn't sound as appealing. Besides, my guess is that they'd need to pay more licensing fees to use the Busch Gardens name anywhere else, and that just isn't something the company should be doing right now.
Seaworld has its heroes ... but they don’t need to wear costumes or have fancy names. They are the people who care for the sick and injured animals that Seaworld chooses to help.
Sea World is at a crossroads where it needs to invent itself within the industry. Over the past couple of year, it appears that they've been trying to position themselves to be purchased, but no one is biting (or at least not offering an acceptable price). Joel Manby has not put the chain on a positive path despite his success with Herschend. The Orlando park is spending money on additions that have little impact on overall attendance and spending, but are cutting back in areas that are getting noticed in a crowded market where attention to detail is appreciated (I'm looking right at you Journey to Atlantis!!). They appear to be devoid of any long range plan to transition away from their icon, and until that plan is clear the park will continue to struggle in a highly competitive market.
It's a big fat mess, and I think we all agree they need to decide in which direction they are going ... and stick to it. The new water ride will definitely not save the park. Spending that money on improving The Arctic and Antarctica experiences would most probably have gotten more people in thru the turnstiles.
I'm going to stick to my guns here and say very few visitors to Sea World, maybe .01% of people, know or care about some theming being removed from Journey to Atlantis.
If I ran the company, this is how I'd fix this mess:
I think the problem with that Kenny, is then you've lost your entire unique selling point. You're just another fun park in a crowded space.
On Journey to Atlantis - I went on that ride once in my life with zero preconceived notions as to what it would be. Even I could tell it was a shell of an atraction and, despite generally enjoying the ride, came off wondering to myself if it was undergoing some unannounced refurbishment.
Some good points raised Chad. You’re right, there is no pool large enough to hold the Orcas, but in reality SeaWorld is stuck with them, so they must do the best they can to appease the doubters and get people back into the park. What I would like to see is the entire Shamu area be made into one large deep flowing pool. Add as much natural surroundings as possible ... in and out of the water. They've already started that process by adding rocks at the bottom of the viewing pool.