SeaWorld’s earnings are by means of the roof, however the park’s future stays unsure

Woman walking in amusement park


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Manta at SeaWorld Orlando. This photo was taken prior to the pandemic. - PHOTO VIA VISIT ORLANDO

  • Picture by way of Go to Orlando
  • Manta at SeaWorld Orlando. This picture was taken previous to the pandemic.

Even because the hopes for a ‘Scorching Vax Summer season’ become a frightening Delta-led half deux of the previous summer season, SeaWorld continued to see sturdy customer numbers companywide.

On August 5, after they launched their Q2 outcomes, issues have been wanting up for the Orlando-based amusement park chain.

The morning the earnings report was to be printed,  the theme park rumor web site Screamscape posted a brief blurb stating SeaWorld could also be getting ready for extra cuts within the coming weeks.

“Think about this truthful warning, however a bit of chicken has knowledgeable us that tough seas could also be forward for SeaWorld Leisure staff members,” learn the piece on Screamscape. Happening to elucidate, “As we strategy the tip of the 2021 Summer season season, phrase is that the brand new COO, Tom Iven, that SEAS employed away from Six Flags could also be behind an all new sequence of workers layoffs, price range cuts and cuts to future capital enlargement initiatives.

Sadly I don’t know when the axe goes to fall, solely that the company workplace has now begun to sharpen it forward of the upcoming culling. Keep tuned!”

The rumor was particularly attention-grabbing contemplating Iven had joined SeaWorld simply 5 weeks prior.

Tom Iven had spent his complete profession at Six Flags, working his method up from operations in highschool to changing into a senior vp on the firm. The transfer to SeaWorld appeared promising, with SeaWorld CEO Marc Swanson stating in a press launch asserting his hiring that “Tom brings vital theme park working expertise and a protracted, profitable working observe report. I’m assured he’ll make speedy contributions as we proceed to execute on our strategic plans to appreciate the complete, long-term potential of the corporate.”

On the August 5 earnings name with buyers, there was no point out of the Screamscape rumor and Tom Iven wasn’t current on the decision.

Then in an SEC submitting on August 12, SeaWorld merely acknowledged, “On August 11, 2021, Mr. Tom Iven suggested the Firm that he was resigning as Chief Working Officer for private causes efficient instantly. Mr. Iven will proceed to help the Firm by means of August 20, 2021.”

In an organization identified for the revolving door to its govt suite, Iven’s less-than-two-month ranks among the many shortest. The stint is simply the newest in a protracted checklist of executives who’ve left the corporate after a promising entrance. Final 12 months noticed CEO Serge Rivera abruptly go away after simply 5 months. His predecessor, Gus Antorcha, lasted on the helm simply seven months earlier than leaping ship. After two stints because the interim CEO, SeaWorld’s board tapped Marc Swanson to steer the corporate.

Nonetheless, there’s little doubt that the true management comes from the Board of Administrators. In his resignation, Rivera pointed to “disagreements over the board’s involvement within the determination making on the firm” as the rationale for his departure. In April, whereas talking at a non-public digital occasion hosted by the Worldwide Affiliation of Amusement Parks and Sights, then nonetheless interim CEO Swanson praised SeaWorld’s board chairman, Scott Ross, who comes from Hill Path Capital, SeaWorld’s largest shareholder.

Lately, SeaWorld has been ruthless in its cost-cutting initiatives, with a number of rounds of mass layoffs solely exacerbated by the pandemic. Final 12 months, the corporate obtained criticism when it supplied $6.8 million in inventory choices for six executives whereas 90% of the corporate’s workers sat furloughed.

Many followers have pointed to Scott Ross and the Board as the primary hand behind this regular stream of more and more questionable belt-tightening initiatives. It’s unclear if this rumored subsequent wave of layoffs that had been linked to Iven is a part of what triggered his sudden resignation, neither is it clear if this wave of recent layoffs continues to be within the works.

SeaWorld presently has a number of new sights able to open however has yet to do so. It’s thought this could be a cost-cutting transfer associated to stronger than anticipated attendance this summer season. With the 12 months now almost two-thirds of the way in which gone, some followers have begun speculating if SeaWorld plans to maintain the sights closed all 12 months regardless of a lot of these sights nonetheless marketed as opening this 12 months. Extra layoffs on the labor-strapped park chain will definitely trigger extra difficulties in staffing new sights.

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Concept art of Iron Gwazi, a record-breaking hybrid coaster set to open at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2021. - IMAGE VIA SEAWORLD PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT

  • Picture by way of SeaWorld Parks & Leisure
  • Idea artwork of Iron Gwazi, a record-breaking hybrid coaster set to open at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2021.

Within the meantime, the corporate is getting ready for hang-out season with its largest Howl-O-Scream providing ever, with the adult-centered hang-out occasion now provided at each main SeaWorld park chainwide for the primary time. The corporate can also be nonetheless transferring ahead with its third-party-operated amusement park in Abu Dhabi. It’s dwelling to the world’s largest aquarium and is anticipated to open subsequent 12 months.

Throughout his brief stint on the firm, Tom Iven did reportedly ride Iron Gwazi, the nonetheless closed ‘new for 2020’ coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa. 

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