Protests and “Blackfish” Force SeaWorld Earnings and Attendance to Drop

by on November 13, 2014 · 2 comments

in California, Economy, Environment, Health, History, Media, Ocean Beach

SeaWorld orca v moneyProtests at San Diego SeaWorld and the film “BlackFish” have had enormous impact on the earnings and attendance at SeaWorld, both here in San Diego and in Orlando, Florida.

SeaWorld’s parent company, SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., announced on November 12, that its earnings for the 3rd quarter fell nearly a third –  28 percent – from a year ago. Shares of the company fell 10 percent in morning trading.

Key to its earnings, attendance at the theme parks fell 5.6 percent to 8.4 million in the third quarter from 8.9 million in the same period a year ago.

SeaWorld operates 11 theme parks, but the company stated that the attendance decline occurred primarily at its “destination parks,” namely, SeaWorld San Diego and SeaWorld Orlando.

SeaWorld cited the attendance drop was due to “negative media attention in California along with a challenging competitive environment, particularly in Florida.”

In Orlando, the company says its competition is intense, with major new attractions at other area parks, including a very successful Harry Potter parkland that opened at Universal Orlando this summer.

SeaWorld shares have fallen 31 percent since its initial public offering in April 2013, and36 percent since the beginning of the year.

“Blackfish”, the film, alleges that its treatment of the mammals provokes violent behavior in them and has led to the death of trainers.  Also in the air, is the public’s knowledge of the widely publicized 2010 death of Dawn Brancheau, a trainer at the Orlando park who was drowned by a 12,000-pound orca during a performance.

Yet, despite everything, SeaWorld is not backing off its commitment to keep its killer whale population. It announced last summer its plan to enlarge the orcas’ tank space for the orcas. The Blue World project, to cost $300 million, will begin next year at San Diego, with a target date of 2018.  SeaWorld still is gunning for more parks overseas, and plans to find partners in the Middle East and wants to expand into Asia.

News sources:

 KPBS , 7SanDiego , U-T San Diego


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Susie November 13, 2014 at 6:47 pm

Too bad SW….. Your time is now to set free
Dolphins & Whales
Do the right thing.
Times are changing
Get with it


want2surf November 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

good time for a Snowden-like leak of some damaging internal Sea World documents. Kick ’em while they’re going down.


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