The owner of the Universal Studios theme parks reported this morning that those parks enjoyed the most profitable quarter since the pandemic began.
Comcast reported that the theme parks division of NBCUniversal earned $1.449 billion in revenue during the three months ending September 30. That results in an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation) of $434 million for the quarter. For the year to date, Universal's theme parks have earned $3.163 revenue with an EBITDA of $593.
For comparison, Universal's theme parks earned $1.631 billion in revenue during the same three-month period in 2019, before the pandemic, with an EBITDA in that quarter of $731 million.
"I'd like to highlight our theme parks, especially Orlando, which just reported the most profitable quarter in its history, despite having virtually no international guests due to Covid-related travel restraints," Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said. "In Hollywood, we continue to see recovery. And we had a very successful exciting opening of Universal Beijing Resort on September 20. I also look forward to Covid-related restrictions easing in Osaka, which could happen soon."
Chief Financial Officer Michael Cavanagh noted that the current quarter's EBITDA included about $130 million in pre-opening costs for Universal Beijing. However, "this was our most profitable quarter since the pandemic began in the first quarter of 2020, driven by improved operating results at our US parks, including strong domestic attendance and per caps that were above pre-pandemic levels," he said.
"In fact, as Brian noted Universal Orlando delivered its highest EBITDA for any quarter in its history," Cavanagh said. "At Universal Studios Japan, results were challenging as we continue to operate under a government capacity restrictions, keeping attendance below 2019 levels. Last, we opened Universal Beijing on September 20, where the initial demand has been positive. While our parks offer a great experience year round, we expect some seasonality given Beijing's weather conditions with lower attendance in the fall and winter and more in spring and summer.
"So overall in parks, we are encouraged by the continued recovery of getting back to and then exceeding pre pandemic levels of EBITDA will likely require an improvement in international visitation."
* * *
We wanted you to read this article before we make our newsletter pitch, unlike so many other websites. If you appreciate that - and our approach to covering theme park, travel, and entertainment news - please sign up for our free, three-times-a-week email newsletter. Thank you.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.