Universal's theme parks reported the highest earnings in company history for the third quarter of 2022, parent company Comcast reported today.
NBCUniversal's theme park division reported revenue of 2.064 billion dollars in the three month period ending September 30, 2022. That's up 42.4% over the same period last year, during which Universal Studios Beijing opened. Theme park earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization [EBITDA] for the quarter were 819 million, an 88.6% increase over 2021.
"Our parks segment continues to be a standout, generating the highest quarterly EBITDA on record, driven by growth in each of our geographies, including Beijing, which hit profitability for the first time since its grand opening last September," Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said.
"We're seeing clear evidence that the investments we made throughout the pandemic continue to pay off. We launched Super Nintendo World in Japan, the VelociCoaster in Orlando, Secret Life of Pets in Hollywood, and our drumbeat of innovation goes on. For example, Super Nintendo World will open in Hollywood early next year. We're adding another Nintendo themed area of Donkey Kong to Japan in 2024. I am especially excited for Epic Universe to open in the summer of 2025, which will transform Universal Orlando into a week-long destination."
"Despite the economic uncertainty that you see elsewhere in the economy, we're seeing no effects of that right now in the theme parks, either in terms of our performance or our bookings going forward," NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said. "Florida is really strong. Hollywood's really strong. Japan really ended the quarter pretty strong. So it kind of defies logic a little bit, but part of it is based on the investment Brian outlined really paying off. So the parks business is really strong, and we're seeing no weakness there."
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FWIW, Universal committed to the summer 2025 opening in a previous earnings call, so that's not new. But yes, it is noteworthy that the timeline is holding.
That "insistence" begs the question: Considering variables associated with supply chains and the availability of qualified labor (construction and operations) along with the quantity of work to be completed, should the goal be meet the stated opening date or open when it's actually ready -- as in no widespread technical hiccups?
Awesome news. Hopefully this means Universal will continue to invest aggressively in their theme parks.
We still don't know when in 2025, I can see them going for late spring/early summer as best, still something to get an entire new park built in two years.
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Obviously the big takeaway from this is Comcast's insistence that Epic Universe will open in the summer of 2025. Yes, it's still nearly 3 years away, but based on every indication, including CEO Roberts' comments, the announced timeline is still holding.