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Universal theme parks break even in Q4 despite COVID-19

Comcast Corporation has reported results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2020, revealing that Universal theme parks “reached breakeven” in Florida and Japan.

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“Outstanding performance at Cable drove very strong fourth quarter results for our company,” said Brian L Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation. “We added 538,000 net new broadband customers and delivered Adjusted EBITDA growth of over 12%.

“Our theme parks in Orlando and Osaka reached breakeven; and encouragingly, Sky returned to customer growth in all three of its markets, bringing our total customer relationships and overall revenue in Europe essentially back to 2019 levels.”

In Q4, Universal theme parks reached breakeven, excluding the $45 million pre-opening costs of Universal Beijing Resort, and despite the continued closure of Universal Studios Hollywood in California.

Theme park revenue dropped to $579m in Q4 2020

Revenue for theme parks decreased 62.9 percent to $579m in Q4 2020. This is primarily attributed to limited capacity at Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Japan, and the closure of Universal Studios Hollywood.

Adjusted EBITDA loss in the theme parks segment was $15m in Q4 2020, which included the pre-opening costs of Universal Beijing Resort.

Revenue for theme parks decreased 68.9 percent to $1.8bn for the year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 2019.

This was due to the temporary closures of Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Hollywood due to COVID-19.

Adjusted EBITDA loss in the theme parks segment was $541m for the year December 31, 2020.

Comcast “optimistic” about the future

“With the vaccines rolling out throughout the world, we are optimistic that the parts of our business that had been most impacted will soon be back on a path towards growth,” added Roberts.

“This confidence is shared by our Board of Directors, which has announced an increase in the dividend for the thirteenth consecutive year.

“While this is certainly the most challenging period we have faced, I could not be more proud of how our management team and employees continue to pull together and deliver. Today’s results are a testament to their commitment and dedication.”

Comcast executives were optimistic that Universal theme parks would break even in 2021, despite revenue in the third quarter falling nearly 81 percent to $311m.

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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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