Comcast has released its Q1 results and announced updates on its Universal theme park projects around the world including Epic Universe, Super Nintendo World Japan and Universal Beijing.
All Universal parks are currently closed around the world because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Construction paused on Epic Universe, Super Nintendo World Japan delayed
During the company’s Q1 earnings call, it was announced that construction work on Epic Universe has been paused so that Comcast Corporation can focus on the “immediate challenges that COVID-19 present”.
Construction on the final stages of Super Nintendo World Japan is continuing, however, the project is expected to open a few months later than planned.
Theme Park Insider reports that Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings predicted that Epic Universe will be “delayed by a year.”
Brian L. Roberts, Chairman & CEO of Comcast Corporation, is optimistic about the future of theme parks. He said on the call that “there is no doubt that our theme parks will re-open, and when they do, I believe we’ll benefit from strong pent-up demand.
We love these businesses. They have been one of our fastest growing for the last 10 years. They are extremely profitable, historically resilient and enjoy high barriers to entry. Our talented parks team is taking the right near-term steps to control costs while remaining laser-focused on putting in place the appropriate protocols, technology and infrastructure so that when we do re-open, our parks are safe and feel that way to consumers. And while we don’t know when that will be in the U.S., I’m heartened by what we’re seeing in China.”
Universal Beijing to open on time
Roberts explained that the theme parks team is currently working on controlling costs whilst putting into place protocols and technology so that the parks can reopen safely. Although the company is unsure what this will mean in the US, Roberts is “heartened by what we’re seeing in China”.
Construction has restarted on the new Universal park in Beijing, with over 15,000 workers back on site. The company expects Universal Beijing to open on time and on budget in 2021.
Senior EVP & CFO of Comcast Corp, Michael J. Cavanagh reviewed the company’s Q1 2020 figures on the call. Theme park revenue for this quarter declined by 39% to $869 million. EBITDA declined 85% to $75 million as a result of theme park closures in Japan and the US due to COVID-19.
Cavanagh estimated that if the theme parks remain closed for all of Q2 in 2020, the company would expect to lose $500 million in EBITDA losses. However, the company remains confident in the theme park business and that it will generate “healthy returns over the long term.”
Temperature tests for Universal Orlando staff
In a letter from Bill Davis, President and COO of Universal Resort to Universal staff members posted by UOTeam.com, Davis states that the safety of guests and team members “remains our highest priority.” He said that several “health safety screening producers” are being implemented.
All Universal team members and business vendors will now have their temperature checked before being allowed onto resort property or off-site locations. Anyone who has a temperature must wait 72 hours before coming back.
Epic Universe site plan
Although development will be delayed, the most recent plans for Epic Universe have been obtained by Orlando Park Stop. They go into the plans in detail and suggest what we can expect from this new park based on the plans.
Florida’s Recovery Task Force has released guidelines for how theme parks, including Universal Orlando, could reopen safely.