Park of the Week: Islands of Adventure

Universal postpones its Peacock Live event

March 6, 2020, 7:31 PM · We'd told you earlier about "Peacock Live," a new after-hours hard-ticket event at Universal Studios Hollywood celebrating all the franchises from the park's NBCUniversal parent company.

Branded to the company's new online streaming service, the two-day event looked like Universal's answer to Disney's D23 Expo event - a way for the company's stars and fans to connect. But now, Universal has postponed the event indefinitely.

On the Peacock Live website, NBCUniversal said that the postponement was "due to uncertainty surrounding some of the event’s programming elements." But I don't think it takes too much imagination to translate that statement to "COVID-19," or the novel coronavirus that is shutting down events all around the world, including the huge SXSW Festival in Austin that was cancelled today. Peacock Live had been scheduled for March 28-29.

For theme park fans, Peacock Live promised several newsworthy panels, including a four-park Halloween Horror Nights presentation at which we expected house reveals for Orlando and Hollywood. There was also a Universal Creative panel scheduled, at which we might have - finally - gotten an official announcement of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is well into construction on the park's Lower Lot.

Universal Studios Hollywood is refunding tickets for those who request such by March 20. (Call 1-800-UNIVERSAL for refunds.) Universal is calling this a postponement rather than a cancellation, though there's no alternative date at this time. However, it appears that Universal's opther scheduled hard-ticket event for this month, Bravo's Top Chef Food & Wine Festival, remains a go for March 19-20.

Replies (4)

March 7, 2020 at 12:33 AM

I disagree. If you think about it for a moment, I think you will see why. While having a few things in common with D23, it was going to be much, much, much smaller. So much so that they were offering a one day ticket for right about the same price as their best promotional one day ticket offer. Thus, virtually no attendees were going to be going on an airplane to get there. It was going to be a california audience.

They clearly were not going to make any money on it the first year. It was also not that well publicized in my opinion. I highly suspect they decided enough people simply did not buy tickets (who would not buy a ticket to the park anyway) to even come close to breaking even on it. If some of the speakers were traveling from orlando or an overseas universal location, I suppose they could have decided it was not worth the risk putting them on a plane. Even so, they could have had those speakers on a huge tv screen. I would think many of the speakers are based in california, though.

March 7, 2020 at 3:29 PM

The event was as much for PR purposes as theme park income so I don't know that attendance was the primary success metric for PL, but I do think that COVID-19 has to take a huge chunk of the blame if ticket sales were not what Universal had budgeted in the month leading to the event. Bookings and sales are tanking across the travel and entertainment industries worldwide right now.

March 8, 2020 at 5:28 AM

I wonder if Disney, Universal and regional parks are making any contingency plans to scale back special events? If not they should. In the end it’ll probably be the lack of attendance that will force action. Too many people are still not taking this seriously but it’ll be interesting to see what the park attendance numbers look like by summer. While I’m not paranoid I won’t be attending any of the parks this year. Just flying to them is risky imo.

March 8, 2020 at 11:14 AM

For those of us who have already invested a lot of money in a major holiday, inevitably having to patch together different elements in order to secure flights, Universal accommodation, Disney accommodation, cruise and more flights, we don't really have much of a choice as whilst some of those elements would be covered by insurance it's unlikely all of them will be and we could potentially lose a lot of money. We're booked for early October so I@m hoping things develop swiftly and return to some kind of 'normal' well before then. But it's a huge worry to be honest right now.

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