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SeaWorld expects drastic drop in revenue and attendance in Q2 2020

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SeaWorld Entertainment has announced its preliminary results for Q2 2020. SeaWorld, which expects to take a huge financial hit, also provided updates on company operations amid COVID-19.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, SeaWorld temporarily closed all of its attractions from March 16, 2020. The company began the phased reopening of its parks in June 2020.

Aquatica reopened on June 6 in Texas, while five SeaWorld parks reopened in Florida on June 11. SeaWorld San Antonio reopened on June 19 in Texas, and Sesame Place reopened on July 24 in Pennsylvania.

SeaWorld expects to take a big financial hit, with revenue deceasing to $18 million in Q2, compared to $406 million in revenue in Q2 2019.

SeaWorld also estimates that in the second quarter it had about 300,000 visitors, compared to 6.2 million visitors in the same period in 2019.

SeaWorld expects revenue to decrease to $18m

Still, admission per capita is expected to increase by approximately 2 percent to $35.94 compared to $35.25 in the second quarter of 2019. In-park per capita spending is also expected to increase by approximately 10 percent to $30.33 compared to $27.57 in the second quarter of 2019.

SeaWorld has implemented enhanced health and safety measures, including increased cleaning, capacity limitations, physical distancing, face coverings and temperature screenings.

In addition, the company has introduced an online reservation system to help manage capacity. It is also managing the number of operating days by park to optimise cash flow.

According to SeaWorld, total attendance trends have improved since reopening, increasing 14 percent on a same park basis from the week ended June 28 to the week ended July 26.

SeaWorld had around 300,000 visitors in Q2 2020

Attendance compared to the prior year period has ranged from around 10 percent to 15 percent on the low end and up to approximately 50 percent on the high end.

Discovery Cove, which accepts reservations up to 18 months in advance, is showing strong bookings for 2021, which are 169 percent higher than bookings for 2020.

SeaWorld believes that attendance levels will strengthen as it introduces special events, interactive experiences and other offerings. It also plans to spend more on marketing after reducing spending in response to COVID-19.

As for the financial response to COVID-19, SeaWorld increased its revolving credit commitments and borrowed the remaining available amount. It also furloughed approximately 95 percent of its employees and reduced executives’ base salary by 20 percent.

SeaWorld’s financial response to COVID-19

As above, SeaWorld eliminated all advertising and marketing spending during park closures and substantially reduced or deferred all capital expenditures starting in March 2020.

SeaWorld has postponed the opening of rides under construction to 2021, and implemented a strict formal review and approval process for payments and cash disbusements.

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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