SeaWorld also reports attendance slide

August 8, 2023, 12:45 PM · SeaWorld Entertainment officially reported its second quarter financial results today, confirming the attendance drop that it first reported last week.

The company reported that it welcomed 6.139 million guests at its U.S. theme parks in the three months ending June 30, 2023. That's down 2% from the same period in 2022. For the first six months of this year, SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and other parks in the chain welcomed 9.517 million guests - down 1.5% from the first six months of 2022.

SeaWorld's total revenue per capita continued to grow for both period, however, helping drive the company to a record $789.4 million in total revenue for the first six months of the year, up 1.8% from the same period in 2022. However, total revenue during the latest three-month period dropped 1.7% from the same period last year, to $496 million in the three months ending June 30, 2023.

Higher spending (including prices) for food and admission helped drive the per capita revenue increase. However, SeaWorld management continued to blame the weather, along with construction delays on a new ride in San Antonio, for the company's attendance drop.

"Some combination of unusually hot and cold weather, rain and / or the fallout from Canadian wildfires impacted most of our markets during the quarter," CEO Marc Swanson said. "Despite the unusual headwinds in the quarter, attendance still grew at certain of our parks and total per capita spending increased [year over year] for the 17th consecutive quarter."

During the quarter, Miral opened its SeaWorld-branded indoor marine park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, though attendance for that licensed park would not be included in SeaWorld Entertainment's numbers. SeaWorld and Busch Gardens theme parks in the United States also opened new roller coasters in Williamsburg, Virginia, Orlando, and San Diego during the quarter. A new water coaster is under construction in San Antonio, with no opening date yet announced.

Coming up, Disney reports its numbers tomorrow, with Six Flags wrapping this round of financial reports on Thursday. Previously, Universal reported big gains in Hollywood, coupled with declines in Orlando, while Cedar Fair reported an overall attendance drop, though it suggested that its parks in the Midwest did better than those elsewhere.

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Replies (2)

August 9, 2023 at 11:30 AM

Haven't been in years, ever since I read John Hargrove's book and subsequent information on the parks. Used to love the Kraken and Manta but can't look past the company's history.

August 10, 2023 at 9:18 AM

The guest experience has been gutted. I regularly hear guests openly complaining about the poor experience while in the park - not good for SEA.

Once heat can no longer be used as an excuse, queue tropical weather as the excuse of choice!

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