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The sale of Main Event signals a logical end to Ardent Leisure's Dreamworld saga


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The timing works well for them with the 2032 Olympics. It's the perfect opportunity for a new operator to come into the Australian market with an established theme park and make a name for themselves. 

It does also explain why they're so committed to demolishing everything that no longer operates. It creates a better sales pitch when you say "Look at all of this available land!" opposed to "Here's some garbage. You clean it up."

I don't really hold any sentiment towards Ardent so I wouldn't be sad to see them go, but it would be bitter-sweet to see Dreamworld 'converted' to a different property if it was necessary to seal the deal. Hopefully we can get an Alton Towers type situation where an operator comes in with a clear vision whilst bolstering the original property. 

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As long as it operates, and isn't converted into a housing estate or commercial shopping complex, i think any outcome is fine - trade out of it with the long haul, or sell it off to someone more interested (and better equipped) to build the business. 

I don't know that the state government would take any direct action, but it's in their (and the GCCC's) best interests to keep it as a theme park. 

Not to mention that Dreamworld is the only direct competitor to village in an already small market - if they were to exit, village could afford to rest more easily on their laurels.

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9 minutes ago, joz said:

I think Westfeild Coomera is a bigger competitor to Village than  DW is.

Honestly, I think this says a lot about the current state of Aussie theme parks because it's not a dig; it's true. 

Shopping Centers in my area have been shifting direction for a while to include their own little themed areas with restaurants, nightlife and live music. The theming, atmosphere and presentation is MILES ahead of any of the major players on the Gold Coast and that's kind of sad when the whole point of theme parks as a premium gated venues is to be something special that people feel the price is justified to enter.

Currently our theme parks have the luxury of rides and attractions, but when Westfield and Stockland start showing you up just so that they can bolster the value of their rental agreements then you know that you're doing something really, really wrong. 

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It's a much easier themed marketplace to be in though. 

Westfield can afford to elaborately theme things because the revenue is pretty much guaranteed - if a tenant moves out, someone else will move in, and the rent just keeps rolling in (not even mentioning anchor tenants that will exist in the location regardless of the environment, so long as they are local enough to people for them to visit).

Its a symbiotic relationship - Westfield creates an environment that brings the guests in, the shopkeepers move into those environments to expose their products to the guests, the guests buy from the shopkeepers, the shopkeepers pay rent. if the shopkeeper doesn't sell his product he abandons the location and in comes the next shopkeeper. Neither works well without the other.

But in a theme park all of the risk is on the park. they must both build an environment that people not only want to be in, but PAY to enter, selling their environment AS the product. 

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Despite the circumstances that make it easier for the likes of Westfield and Stockland, it's unfortunately still going to affect your potential audiences perception. You can't exactly have a sign out of the front of your park that says "Please forgive our poor presentation, operating theme parks is hard".

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If the sale was to occur it would be indeed bittersweet to see Ardent depart. 

Merlin is already in Australia through several locations. They've also got cold feet when it's come to business talks about expansions within their Australian portfolio. It would be nice to see them join the industry more prominently, but, I didn't see them buying a park that requires  a lot of capital to be bring it up to the “Merlin standard”. Then again, I could be wrong and uneducated. 

Ardent has dropped the ball, there is no doubt about that. They are however trying to do what they can currently. 

The park's long term future is indeed very interesting. This will just be a wait and see kinda deal now. 

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I have a gut feeling the most likely buyers would be Merlin, Six Flags or maybe even Sea World Entertainment. We know six flags loves buying properties and with the new direction their CEO is planning to go, this could possibly be a good thing, however if they were to buy dreamworld, we better hope they don’t go back to their old ways of super loops and cheap carnival rides. With Sea World, they are now starting to open parks overseas and they have been trying to buy a lot of properties recently and could see them buying it tbh. just speculation, no facts or anything but those are the most likely companies that would purchase imo.

 

however, i do not think ardent will be selling dreamworld anytime soon, especially with the olympics coming up and then knowing that’s a huge potential to bring in crowds. 

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3 hours ago, Rivals said:

however, i do not think ardent will be selling dreamworld anytime soon, especially with the olympics coming up and then knowing that’s a huge potential to bring in crowds. 

I see everyone brining up this olympics as a game changer. Do we remember the common wealth games and how the parks were dead because of them? 
 

Food for thought? 

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11 minutes ago, Tim Dasco said:

I see everyone brining up this olympics as a game changer. Do we remember the common wealth games and how the parks were dead because of them? 
 

Food for thought? 

they were dead during them however, once the games were finished and prior to the games it became packed. the same will most likely happen with the olympics but on a much larger scale.

the olympics is a much bigger deal, so during the event the parks will be deader then the commonwealth games, but before and definitely after it will be international families vacation and the parks will be packed. 

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56 minutes ago, GoGoBoy said:

What about Parques Reunidos? Already has a toehold with Raging Waters

I think they are the other most likely buyer apart from Merlin, unless private equity steps in (god forbid we see a repeat of the Macquarie years…). But whoever was to buy the park needs some deep pockets and a fair amount of patience, as well as industry experience, if they are to succeed.

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Reading speculation that Six Flags might buy one of our parks and the Olympics will be good for attendance is like being in 1998 again.

 

If I were to put a bet on it, my money would be on a private equity mob or Reunidos, with Merlin being an outside contender. Merlin and Reunidos have a presence in the country, and there was a bit of a bidding war over Village so maybe still interest out there.

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4 hours ago, Naazon said:

DISNEY

 

 

/s

If Disney bought a park in Australia it'd be overhauled to use it as a landfill for all the garbage from their other parks, that's how much Disney cares about Australia as a potential destination for a future park - that is to say zero percent. 

And yes I know you put the "/s" to denote sarcasm, but Disney is about the least likely thing to come upon our shores short of China launching a World War, them winning, co-opting the Disney brand as an invasion strategy and becoming the new world order in their conquered territories. (P.S. I'm very drunk please ignore my comments tonight).

Edited by Cactus_Matt
Drunk
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15 hours ago, Rivals said:

I have a gut feeling the most likely buyers would be Merlin, Six Flags or maybe even Sea World Entertainment. We know six flags loves buying properties and with the new direction their CEO is planning to go, this could possibly be a good thing, however if they were to buy dreamworld, we better hope they don’t go back to their old ways of super loops and cheap carnival rides. With Sea World, they are now starting to open parks overseas and they have been trying to buy a lot of properties recently and could see them buying it tbh. just speculation, no facts or anything but those are the most likely companies that would purchase imo.

 

however, i do not think ardent will be selling dreamworld anytime soon, especially with the olympics coming up and then knowing that’s a huge potential to bring in crowds. 

If you take a closer look at the Six Flags portfolio, you'll notice that they've got 15 current property locations, with 13 of those in the continental United States (the last two are in Canada and Mexico). (I'm not counting Hurricane Properties, but suffice to say they fit much the same pattern).

Now sure, they are building a park in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (supposed to open next year) but we don't have the oil money to pull that off.

If you look at the number of parks that Six Flags have closed, or abandoned, withdrawn from or sold off over the years, you can dig a little deeper and see that they were once a much bigger (property count) operation - but it was too large to sustain. A similar fate befell Taft \ Paramount Parks - and when they restructured, the parks they didn't keep were the ones that were the furthest away from their main headquarters - like Australia.

They had 8 different properties in Europe - all of which they sold off in 2004 (including the two European Movie World parks.)

They also had proposed multi-gated park complexes in three different chinese regions and a Dubai park as part of the Dubai parks and resorts, all of which were cancelled in 2020 (except Dubai which was cancelled in 2019).

Suffice to say - if Six Flags wants to expand, they'll take on the large populations of China well before they consider picking up a rustbucket australian park with a rocky history.

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3 hours ago, DaptoFunlandGuy said:

Suffice to say - if Six Flags wants to expand, they'll take on the large populations of China well before they consider picking up a rustbucket australian park with a rocky history.

Come on now, they got rid of all the rust and replaced it with shopping center chic!

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My out there but not totally implausible theory is a cypress gardens-style transformation into Legoland. Not a separate gate, just a complete re-do into Legoland. A decent way to introduce Legoland into the market using Dreamworld's existing infrastructure rather than doing a from scratch build, with a timeless IP that you can get a lot of leverage out of.

Merlin already has heaps of smaller attractions around Australia so they're not a stranger to the industry and have been putting up Legolands pretty much everywhere.

Edited by Baconjack
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I find that seriously doubtful. Western Sydney misses wonderland, but their economy didn't rely on it.

Queensland Tourism and the Gold Coast leans hard on theme parks as part of any marketing campaign. Unless you get a boiled frog scenario, I can't see them disappearing entirely.

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