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Cedar Fair CEO confirms interest in buying Kings Island

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Published: May 19, 2006 at 1:06 PM

It's a busy day here at TPI....

Cedar Fair has confirmed that it is interested in making a bid on at least one of the up-for-sale Paramount theme parks. The Toledo Blade absolutely buries the lead, yet gets Cedar Fair CEO Dick Kinzel on the record expressing interest in buying Kings Island from Paramount.

That would give Cedar Fair three parks in Ohio, flagship Cedar Point, Kings Island and the recently purchased (from Six Flags) Geauga Lake.

[Update: It's official now.]

Readers' Opinions

From Chris P. on May 19, 2006 at 6:50 PM
I think this would be a risky move for Cedar Fair because then they would own all the major parks in Ohio and they would really be competing against themselves. That to me is as stupid as building a Wal-mart across the street from another Wal-mart.
From Derek Potter on May 19, 2006 at 7:18 PM
I read the following comment on another site, and I agree. There are one of two things going on here. Dick Kinzel is either fishing for opinion, or he is setting the table for something bigger. I have heard that the sale of the Paramount Parks is final...to whom no one knows yet. I've also heard that the parks were not sold as a whole, but separate. Then again, I would not put it past Cedar Fair to grab all of them. Think about what the Paramount chain means to any of the companies in the industry. Two of the parks represent 7 million in attendance, (Kings Island and Canada's Wonderland) which is huge in the seasonal business...not to mention Cedar Point's main competition. Another one is surrounded by large markets (King's Dominion), and represents a great oppurtunity despite heavy competition. Carowinds is the only player for miles, residing in Charlotte...another large market, and Great America...well, at least it's in California.

The questions I have are as follows. Does Cedar Fair really have enough in their wallet to purchase without straining themselves? and if they do, are they going to purchase the licensing rights to things such as Nickelodeon? Also, would they try to keep the brand separate? or would they detheme Kings Island and give it the Cedar Point/coaster makeover? Not that I would mind at all if Kings Island got a big new coaster, it's just that trying to recreate Cedar Point once again with all of your parks in Ohio won't be a good thing for the company because there would be no reason to go to both parks. Believe me there is a reason right now for anyone close to visit both Kings Island and Cedar Point. In their current state, they compliment each other so well. What one doesn't have, the other does. I enjoy both parks every year for that very reason, but if they were the same, I probably wouldn't go to both in the same year all the time.

If this turns out to happen, I do hope that Cedar Fair doesn't forget the formula that made the Paramount chain so successful these last few years. They did after all drop the ball with Geauga Lake when they sold the marine animals. Maybe a lesson was learned about tampering with a formula. In the same breath, they are a great park chain, and know how to run an operation. I suppose we will all have to wait and see. A little birdie told me an announcement will be coming this summer.

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