It was a bad day yesterday, Wednesday, August 13, for SeaWorld, as company execs admitted for the very first time that the aquatic theme parks are losing visitors and money due to the film “Blackfish” – the movie about SeaWorld mistreating orcas. Almost immediately SeaWorld shares dropped 30%.
Up to now, SeaWorld – which has 11 theme parks across the country – has denied that its earnings and numbers of customers have declined due to “Blackfish”.
Yet they had to admit the losses in the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2014. The losses are due to a drop in people coming to their “destination-parks” – like SeaWorld San Diego. With audiences in decline and sales of everything from tickets and products affected, the company reported:
“Attendance of 6.6 million, a 0.3% increase versus the second quarter of 2013” – plus
“Revenue of $405.2 million versus $411.3 million in the second quarter of 2013 -“
And their stock dropping had to come next. SeaWorld didn’t admit it directly, but in a press release stated that the audience drop was related to recent legislation:
“The company believes attendance in the quarter was impacted by demand pressures related to recent media attention surrounding proposed legislation in the state of California.”
The protests, the demonstrations, the focusing on individual orcas, the constant reminding by activists of the terrible conditions and histories of the confined ocean-going mammals – has had a significant effect.
Perhaps, reforms can come next. But, probably not, as reportedly, SeaWorld wants to try campaigns to boost attendance around Halloween and the Holidays; its hiring experts to help them woo people back.
Hey, SeaWorld – how about unleashing the orcas – and seeing what that does to attendance.
Here’s the U-T San Diego report, detailed and wordy.
And here’s the Voice of San Diego’s version – expressing worry that San Diegans will now see reduced rents and thus city budgets because of the SeaWorld revenue losses.