Round-up: Legoland makes another deal in China

September 14, 2023, 12:19 PM · Merlin Entertainments has announced a long-term partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent.

"Tencent, the leading digital media company, is the perfect partner to define extraordinary guest experiences through technology and data and we will collaborate to reimagine how to make more memories, bring more happiness and spread more joy to more families together," Merlin CEO Scott O'Neil said. "From avatar interactions to immersive shows, we look forward to introducing Lego enthusiasts, families and theme park guests to a next-generation digital experience at our new resorts in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Sichuan, as well as the potential for additional attractions."

"We hope that this exciting partnership with Legoland Resorts will maximize Tencent's strengths in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data and other areas to refresh visitor services and create more satisfying experiences for visitors," Tencent Senior Executive Vice President Dowson Tong said.

Two arcade companies have merged with the backing of a Miami-based private equity firm.

PrimeTime Amusements has merged with Family Entertainment Group [F.E.G.], with financial backing from HIG Capital, which made an initial investment in F.E.G. last year.

"The Florida market, long being known as a stronghold for PrimeTime Amusements, will serve as a catapult for F.E.G. to broaden its various business units and integrate some of PrimeTime’s foremost accounts into its portfolio," the companies said in their press release.

On its website, Family Entertainment Group lists partnerships with Cedar Fair theme parks, Orlando's Icon Park, and Landry's among other companies in the themed entertainment space, while PrimeTime Amusements lists partnerships with Walt Disney Imagineering, Ripley Entertainment Inc., and Chuck E. Cheese’s, among others.

IAAPA has hired three new executives and promoted another to its leadership team.

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Europa-Park has announced the opening of a new building for its Talent Academy. The nine-year-old Academy, which offers instruction in dance, acrobatics, music, art, and mindset, has moved into the EPSports Store building next to the hotel Bell Rock. The expansion will allow instruction in 100 courses, to be held weekly by about 40 internationally certified coaches.

"My team and I can hardly wait to fill the building with life and creativity," Talent Academy Founder and Director Katja Mack said.

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Finally, Saudi Entertainment Ventures [SEVEN] has announced its development of another entertainment destination. With an investment of more than US$290 million, SEVEN will develop the seafront promenade on Al Nawras Island in Yanbu. Global architecture firm Gensler will design the project.

"Our entertainment destination in Yanbu will provide residents and visitors with a wealth of new and exciting experiences while supporting the city’s rapidly developing entertainment sector," Chairman Abdullah AlDawood said. "SEVEN's entertainment destination is inspired by Yanbu’s beautiful natural seascape, embodying the city’s the rich history as one of the oldest ports in the Kingdom."

SEVEN is developing 21 entertainment destinations around the country, with IP licenses from Warner Bros. Discovery, Hasbro, and Mattel, among others.

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