Here's my question.
Is there such a thing as a good buy-out? I know this is slightly off the subject, as Jazzland had already been a Premier Park for a while, but I'm talking about the bigger picture, the wide spectrum of theme parks worldwide, if you will.
What are the pros and the cons of a situation like this? Is it possible for a different company to add their influence to a park without ruining what the park is about?
One last thing: please, PLEASE don't turn this into an extension of the 'Jazzland Gives Way To Six Flags New Orleans' thread.
Viacom could kick out the Warner Bros. characters and re-do the Six Flags' kiddie lands as Nick Jr.-themed areas. And go with Nickelodeon for some family rides.
Six Flags' teen thrill-ride crowd is a perfect match for Viacom's MTV. And I'd love to see a "Survivor"-themed challenge area in a theme park, as well.
Owning Six Flags would allow Viacom to use theme parks to reach its target audience in many, many more markets than it can with its few existing Paramount parks. And it would do so without overlapping any current parks, save for Great America and Marine World in the Bay Area (which might support the two parks, anyway.)
Which is MY problem with the buyout you suggested. Paramount rarely seems to put much effort into new attractions. Tomb Raider is probably the ONLY exception to the rule. If they get an innovative ride, like a flying coaster, then they build one that is way too short.
If ANYONE should be buying other parks, I think it should be Busch. Busch is the only company out there that is building SF-worthy coasters with Disney-worthy theming. But this would be a major investment for Busch. There are plenty of parks out there that they would have to COMPLETELY retheme, due to their current half-hearted themes. These would be parks like PGA.
But they would have been a great alternative when Marine World and Jazzland were bought. Marine World (and I assume Jazzland was in a similar situation) was already nicely themed, but needed high-quality attractions.
But, the difference between a SF buyout and a Busch buyout would be time. SF could add several coasters in a short timespan (if they don't, that is usually due to attendance) while Busch would have to add them at a much slower pace since the theming would take lots of expense.
With ANY buyout, there are going to be compromises made. And I would think any compromises would be better than a park going under.
TAKE IT TO THE RIGHT THREAD!
Still, that doesn't excuse some places that are filthy or ignore upkeep. Even Disney, who should know better, has ignored this. Which is why I said Busch would be the best company to buy other parks out. The theming isn't on the Disney/Universal level, but it sure beats Six Flags or Cedar Fair. And it builds the rides faster than Disney or Universal.
We have posted in many threads on here about the different types of parks and the different types of people who go to them. There are highly themed parks that don't have too many thrills (the Disney parks). There are relatively non-themed parks that have loads of thrills (Six Flags and Cedar Fair). Then there are the parks attempting to combine the two (Universal and Busch). Yes, IOA seems to be the most successful such hybrid park, but that is still only on websites. USF next door is still whomping it when it comes to attendance. As are the WDW parks.
So my problem with IOA is that it should be building, but isn't. For some reason Universal has chosen to focus on USF. Still, there is a finite amount of money that can be thrown at a company's parks in a given year, which is why I think Universal buying any park wouldn't work.
Busch builds a little more rapidly, but tends to do so at the expense of theming sometimes. Kumba at BGT is basically themeless, but fortunately hidden. Montu has some good theming for a coaster, but it is far from hidden. Rhino Rally has excellent theming, but isn't very good. Gwazi is completely unthemed, except for the queue, and can be seen everywhere.
So there is another problem right there with Busch buying out a park. Like I said, I don't think there is a perfect buyout. Good? Yes.