TV report fuels rumors of Hard Rock Park demise
Published: August 7, 2008 at 1:11 PM
Rumors about the Grand Strand's first rock and roll theme park are spread-ing all over town. Many have heard that Hard Rock Park is going broke, or that it will become part of a casino project. The theme park's CEO, Steve Goodwin, has gone on record in the past saying it has been a really tough summer for the attraction. However, beyond that admission, not much else has been confirmed. But, the rumors are flying, and, right now, the skeptics are in charge.
Local business leaders and industry insiders want Hard Rock Park to succeed, but theme park consultant Dennis Speigel says the park's developers picked a bad summer to open because of high gas prices and a slow economy. Speigel also said the park's high ticket prices and very aggressive projection of three million visitors their first year did not help the matter.
"Very few parks, with the exception of Disney World, and possibly Universal, have ever achieved that number," he said. The park's days and hours of operation have been cut back, and their web site has no concerts scheduled af-ter August 30th. According to the rumor mills, that could mean the park will close this fall. But, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean said while foot traffic at the park is disappointing, no one on the outside knows the true story.
Dean said that the skeptics who did not believe Myrtle Beach was ready for a big theme park are having their day. But that it's way too early to talk about Hard Rock Park's demise.
"Obviously, they may not hit the projections they were hoping for this summer, but I think the longer term story has yet to be written," he said. Hard Rock Park has not released attendance numbers, citing competitive reasons.