Friday, May 21, 2010

Playing With Cedar Fair's Numbers

Cedar Fair has announced their intention to offer $500 million in senior notes in order to raise money to help pay down their debt. Part of this announcement included an investor slide as part of the 'sell' presentation they created:

What's interesting here is that the company rarely releases any hard numbers for single parks, but did for Worlds of Fun and Kings Island. Of the things I noticed first is that Worlds of Fun actually had a down year when they added Prowler, at least as far as attendance is concerned. Kings Island, however, saw the park reach 2.9 million guests when Diamondback debuted, up 200k.

Seeing the 2009 revenues listed for each park reminded me of the only other time I've seen the company reveal each park's take. When they announced the purchase of Paramount Parks they released the above images as part of another presentation.

From that we can see that in 2005 Worlds of Fun's revenues were $35.23 million, and they are listed at $39.6 million in 2009. A nice increase. Kings Island is listed at $108.16 million, and then at $108.0 million in 2009. No increase - and that's with a $22 million investment in the park that year. Granted both parks had solid EBITDA increases in '09, but at what cost to park operations?

I know this was an exercise in picking at numbers, but I found it telling nonetheless. The company still seems to be right on the edge of a large cliff. But you can gladly spend $4.49 for a fountain soda at Cedar Point this summer to help them out!


Ryan said...

These figures show that adding a multi-million dollar ride doesn't provide the return it might once have. Prices are high, and people need plenty of discounts to come out to the parks (see also: Cedar Point's huge list of discounts from last year and this year... something they didn't need back in 2005).

jmerritt said...

In the great scheme of things, a $1.2 million increase or decrease is not significant. That is chump-change to Cedar Fair.

Worlds of Fun has been limping along with stagnant attendance for decades, fluctuating a few 100,000 up or down each season. Cedar Fair has added just enough to keep the park alive, but also removed rides and attractions so the net gain is zero.

The Prowler brought a lot of excitement to the park for those of us who are still loyal visitors. We haven't had such positive feelings since the Timber Wolf opened 20 years earlier.

It's a shame it didn't have more of an impact attendance-wise, but it's going to take a multi-year rebuilding plan to put WOF back where it used to be.

NewsPlusNotes said...

Yeah, it's weird that the numbers haven't grown. I have an old press sheet here (well prior to CF's purchasing the park) where the attendance for WOF is listed at 1 million in 1974, climbing to 1.4 in 1981, but then hovering in the 1.3s through the 80s.