SeaWorld Reports Record Revenue on Declining Attendance

May 9, 2023, 12:50 PM · SeaWorld Entertainment posted record revenue for a first quarter in the three months ending March 31, despite a slight drop in attendance for the quarter, the company reported today.

Revenue was up 8.4% to $293.3 million for the quarter. Higher guest spending drove the increase, with overall average spend rising to a quarter-record $86.84. Admission spending per capita was up 9.4% to $48.51, while in-park spending rose 8.9% to $38.33 per visitor.

That helped offset the attendance drop - down 0.7% to 3.38 million visitors for the quarter. The company blamed the rainy weather in California at the start of the year for keeping visitors away from its San Diego parks.

As for the bottom line, SeaWorld Entertainment posted a net loss of $16.5 million for the quarter, but an adjusted EBITDA of $72.4 million - another record for a first quarter. The company also spent $13.9 million to buy back 235,000 of its shares during the quarter.

"Looking ahead, we are very encouraged by our group booking trends which are running well ahead of 2022 and we are really excited about our 2023 lineup of new rides, attractions and events – several of which are some of the most anticipated rides of 2023 - and looking forward to most of them opening in the coming weeks," CEO Marc Swanson said. "On the international front, we are also very thrilled for the opening of the fourth SeaWorld park and first SeaWorld branded park outside of the United States in Abu Dhabi on May 23, 2023."

This week, flagship SeaWorld Orlando will preview its new Pipeline the Surf Coaster, followed by the opening of DarKoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg the week following. All that leads up to that Abu Dhabi park opening the week after that. Stay tuned to Theme Park Insider for coverage of all these and other attraction openings this month.

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Replies (1)

May 10, 2023 at 9:15 AM

It annoys me that this more or less emboldens the chain's move to tack on their 5% nuisance fee on all in-park purchases. I wonder if they would have pulled the same in-park spending increase (8.9%) if they didn't artificially inflate spending 5% with their surcharge. Would the number have really been 3.9% or would guests have still increased their spending without being forced to by the 5% surcharge?

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