Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hard Rock Park = Closed.

Hard Rock Park has closed for the year and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as per the notices posted on the park's official website.

The rock'n'roll theme park is trying to make it clear that this is not the end of the road for them, but that they will open again in 2009 after they emerge from the bankruptcy proceedings.

This is pretty sad news, but not really unexpected as word of the park's serious financial struggles has been around for a while now.

Hopefully the park's intentions prove to be true and the place can open again next year. As we've all discussed before, they will need to make some changes in order to be a viable entertainment option in their market, but it could work if the right balance of price vs. product is reached. At least I think so.


DrewJ said...

What is with all these new parks or businesses thinking that profitability will just come in the first year of operation? I know we are taught that a good business operates in the black, but when you start out you should plan on at least three to five years of no profitability! Those first few years you're just going to work out the problems and build a market that want's your product. One summer is not enough time to even start that! I would maintain that Hard Rock Park will prevail with good management.

Chris said...

I agree with ttdfreak, it's way too early to predict doom for the park. Any investor that expected immediate return with the first year is an idiot. It's going to take a good while before the park finds its footing in terms of positioning, marketing, etc. The last of the park's opening attractions has only been in service for a couple of months!

It is a smart move to shutter the park for the season now, as I don't think it is viable to compete against the other parks in the Halloween season without having their own type of Halloween event. I fear they are going to alienate some of their clientele who might want refunds for their annual passes (the FAQ makes it clear they are not ready to make the decision to offer refunds or to offer a free renewal on AP's). In hindsight, it probably would have been better to only operate for the summer this year then reevaluate their strategy for next season.

I am very optimistic that the park can turn around, but I'm not sure it's going to even come next year. As we've said many times on this site, very few parks took off out of the barn running- at least not without having a strong sister park next door.

Honestly, the financiers that were expecting return this year deserve what I'm sure is going to be coming their way (or more appropriately, what won't come their way) after the dust from bankruptcy court settles.