Blaming their second-quarter loss of $175.9 million on a reduction of advertising nationwide, ‘misconception’ of animal treatment at their parks and competitive pressure from rival theme parks (such as Universal and Disney), SeaWorld has experienced a large drop in attendance to their theme parks, with their stock since the beginning of the year falling by 28%.
California’s SeaWorld park in particular has suffered major loss after the death of 3 month-old Kyara. Controversial theme park, came under major fire and criticism from the enraged public after the baby Orca Whale kept captive at SeaWorld’s San Antonio Park died prematurely from an avoidable illness. This heart-breaking news is just one case of the many animal welfare concerns that SeaWorld’s entertainment attractions raise.
Furthermore, the overall attendance at SeaWorld’s San Diego park is down for the year and this earnings report is the fourth consecutive quarter report which shows a decline of attendance to SeaWorld’s 12 parks, all with declining revenues too.
Bob Boyd, leisure analyst for Pacific Asset Management said “This is probably the worst quarter for them (SeaWorld), 2017 was supposed to be a year of growth and it looks to be pretty minimal.”
Perhaps the release of ‘BlackFish’ has been haunting them ever since it’s release in 2013? This exposé documentary questioned the treatment and handling of SeaWorld’s orca whales and increased the negative press associated with the brand.
In response to controversy and public outrage, which was increased after the release of BlackFish, SeaWorld partnered with the Humane Society to end their captive orca breeding program and theatrical performances last year. These attractions are said to be replaced with encounters that are based more on nature-orientated activities instead.
To compensate for their loss of revenue and offer enticing, competitive prices against their rival theme parks who are making massive investments on attractions, SeaWorld has dropped their entry prices. In 2015, admission to SeaWorld would cost $99 but now, you can buy a pass to multiple parks that works out at $59.99 per park or you can get in for $79.99.
10 Quick Facts About Orcas:
1. Collapsed Dorsal fins are neither normal nor healthy
2. In the wild: male orca whales live to an average of 30 years (up to 50-60 years) or 46 years for females (maximum 80-90 years)
3. Orcas’ sunburns are covered up with black zinc oxide at SeaWorld
4. Orcas are taken from their families and put in tanks for human amusement
5. In the capture process at SeaWorld, many Orca Whales have been killed
6. Trainers at SeaWorld are not animal experts, they are performers who put on a show
7. Orcas are very unsuited to captivity due to their high intelligence, which makes them one of the most intelligent species on Earth
8. Orcas will travel up to 100 miles of ocean every day in the wild
9. There is no record of any serious or fatal wild killer whale attacks on humans
10. Wild Orca Whales regularly express behaviour associated with sheer bouts of joy
Image Credit: Awionline