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And Hard Rock Park's new name is... Freestyle Music Park?

Written by
Published: April 9, 2009 at 9:55 AM

Owners of the park formerly known as Hard Rock have announced the new name. Get ready ladies and gents......Freestyle Music Park.

After negotiations with Hard Rock Corporation broke down, and on the heels of a truly bizarre lawsuit that actually awarded former CEO/captain of the sinking ship Steve Goodwin intellectual property rights, the new owners were put in the position of finding a new name...and finding it quickly.

One sad note is that the great live shows that graced the park last year will be canned, probably because they don't want to pay Goodwin the royalties that he seeks for his "rights" It's rumored that one of the shows will be a skate/BMX stunt show. It also appears that the rides, restaurants, and areas are being renamed...also probably to prevent Goodwin from sticking his hand out. A Memorial Day opening is planned.

My opinion? The new name doesn't work. It doesn't have a very good ring to it at all. I understand the timeline they had to deal with, but there wasn't anything better than that? The decision favoring Goodwin in the intellectual property rights lawsuit seems to have really pulled the rug out from under the new owners. Continuing without the Hard Rock name is one thing, but renaming attractions and designing new themes effectively in two months is a real uphill battle. Here is the story from the Sun News.

Thoughts on the new name?

Update: Arthur Levine's got an interview with Hard Rock Park's Freestyle Music Park's Steve Baker.

[Slaps forehead] I totally had forgotten that the name of FPI MB Entertainment, the new owners of the park, stands of Freestyle Park International Myrtle Beach. And that the park that they run in Russia is called Freestyle Park. So Freestyle is their brand name. This is the music-themed park in the chain, ergo, Freestyle Music Park. Utterly predictable. After ID'ing the Freestyle Park and Steve Baker connections before anyone else, I can't believe I missed that.

Readers' Opinions

From TH Creative on April 9, 2009 at 10:08 AM
Derek, I disagree. While 'Freestyle Music Park' might seem like a mouthful, it will more than likely be referred to as just 'Freestyle' which I think is a snappy name for a park.
From Robert Niles on April 9, 2009 at 10:26 AM
"FM" park would have been a cool name 10-20 years ago, when people listened to music on the radio.

I wonder when someone will sell the name of a park, the way cities and sports teams sell the names to stadiums? This could have been a candidate - sell the naming rights to Apple and open "iPod Park."

Let's put it this way... the name "Freestyle Music Park" doesn't make me want to rush online and book a trip. Hard Rock Park at least piqued the curiosity of people over age 40-45.

From 67.151.32.14 on April 9, 2009 at 11:52 AM
The new name does not sound at all like an "Amusement Park" attraction. The way it sounds to me is come here to listen to music. It does not appear to have a name that kids will remember, so that in effect would eliminate the younger audience.
From Don Neal on April 9, 2009 at 12:47 PM
I think TH makes a good point. Freestyle Park or Freestyle will most likely be the name it comes to be known by. Not completely terrible. However renaming all the other attractions, restaurants, and such will be a challenge.
From Erin B on April 9, 2009 at 1:14 PM
There HAD to have been a better idea out there for the park name. "Freestyle Music Park" doesn't work for me, at all. Granted, I'm not in their position and I'm sure they're under a ton of pressure, but still...
Ah well, here's to hoping for the best for the park.
From steve lee on April 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM
Yowzers, what a stinker of a name. But it's still better than that Happy Days thing.
From steve lee on April 9, 2009 at 5:10 PM
Okay, more structured thoughts now.

The BMX/skateboarding show may fit into the former Malibu Beach Party area pretty well. Rock and Roll Heaven was one of the worst-executed areas in the park. The main attraction was Led Zeppelin, which makes no sense considering (last time I checked) Robert Plant is alive - he just looks like a zombie.

The Taste of Paradise restaurant was more surf/tiki themed, so they could just expand the whole thing out so that area covers the "extreme sports" angle. Score rights to some surfing music and toss out Whole Lotta Love. That Zeppelin station may still be problematic, but we'll figure it out.

The rumor that turns my stomach is the CSI Show in the Globe Theatre. Look, they can't get away from the fact that a large section of the park is UK themed. The outside of the auditorium is a rough replica of the Globe Theatre. What in the name of Zeus' butt does CSI have to do with any of that (and while we're at it, is CSI a good family show?).

I have concerns.

From 72.188.29.46 on April 9, 2009 at 5:12 PM
Worst. Park Name. Ever.
From Joshua Counsil on April 9, 2009 at 5:34 PM
Wow. Just ... wow.

Are we having a creative recession, too?

From James Rao on April 9, 2009 at 5:43 PM
LOL... good comments everyone. However, if it is a great theme park, the name will be irrelevant.

Eventually the names all just get abbreviated anyway: WDW, USF, IOA, SWO, CP, BGE, SFMM, KBF, WOF, and (remember this one?) HRP....

From David Sutter on April 10, 2009 at 5:31 AM
Well ita least it will reopen...Good or bdad..but hay if its ideas they need just ask us...Anyone remember or theme park development blog we did?...Could be a help to these new owners..yea think?
From Derek Potter on April 10, 2009 at 6:53 AM
Hey...if Freestyle Music Park works out, than great. There aren't many people out there that want to see this park succeed more than I do. I just am reminded of an ampitheater or something when I say it. I understand that the name may work in Russia, but I really think that it could be detrimental to the product they are capable of producing.

I will say this. Mr. Baker is spot on in this interview with his analysis of Hard Rock's failure. That bodes well for the park, because he knows what needs fixed. The problem is that they now have to rebrand, retheme, and rename everything. I think he downplays the intellectual property rights court decision. I'm sure that it played a huge role in pursuing the Hard Rock brand because even if they would have stayed with Hard Rock, they would have had to pay Steve Goodwin millions for the use of his "intellectual property", which actually should have been included in the bankruptcy auction.

Despite the name, and the fact that the park may lose some of that edge that I loved, I am optimistic about Freestyle's future. Mr. Baker's client list includes Disney and some of my favorite amusement parks. I have to believe that the guy knows what he's doing, but it takes time...something they don't have a lot of. That's why it wouldn't be right to pass judgement on this year's version of the park.

I can now only wish that I would have had the money to buy.

From Donna Tolliver on April 10, 2009 at 6:54 AM
Parent company name or not, that moniker is LAME. I really hope I'm proven wrong, but I think this park is dead in the water. Or at least it is paddling very, very feebly.
From 98.25.128.141 on April 12, 2009 at 7:03 AM
As a former employee of HRP - I don't think that the new name will spark alot of attendance or enthusiasm, for patrons or employees. I will certainly say that the atmosphere at HRP was ALOT of fun.

HARD ROCK is a name brand, and Hard Rock Cafe's embrace ALL TYPES of music - as was reflected by the park. Alot of locals have shown both their ignorace of, and lack of ever entering the park by saying that the "new name will cover all types of music, not just rock". Shows they never went through the "COOL COUNTRY" section.

Before, if you said to someone "Hard Rock PARK" - A Hard Rock...PARK? Really? I didn't know there was a Hard Rock PARK! Where is it? That sounds cool. We have to check that out.

Freestyle Music Park. Oh.
Cute name.
Does it have any rides?

From 70.246.145.210 on April 14, 2009 at 6:22 AM
i could care less what it is called as long as it opens with the same rollercoasters (under new names if necessary). I couldn't get out last year and I don't plan to miss out again.

the new owners need to get off their butts and get the website up with official open dates/times so that us out of towners can plan flights. (assuming of course they want us to go there rather than another park)

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