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SeaWorld Entertainment partners with Village Roadshow

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SeaWorld doubles down on international park plans

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) isn't letting a slow quarter slow down its bigger goal: An international park.

The company updated investors during its second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 13 that it has signed a letter of intent with theme park operator Village Roadshow Theme Parks to co-develop theme parks in Pan-Asia, India and Russia.

Specifically, SeaWorld President and CEO Jim Atchison said "this letter of intent, along with our previously announced memorandum of understanding with our partner in the Middle East, creates exciting opportunities to extend our brands beyond our domestic borders."

Expanding the SeaWorld brand overseas could be just what the company needs as executives said both the Orlando and San Diego SeaWorld parks stood out as struggling a bit during the quarter. A similar park overseas — potentially away from the negative backlash the company is getting regarding its orcas, thanks to legislation in California asking to ban orca shows and the ongoing debate over the Blackfish film — could provide a boost of return for the company.

In addition, the company plans to use cash flow saved by upcoming cost-cutting efforts to make new investments in the parks. Atchison said those announcements could be coming soon, but didn't share anything else.


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Cooper - although I don't believe this plan is suggesting any changes to our own park, we have long discussed the need in our Sea World for a better balance on rides than current.

Consider the non-animal line-up Sea World has right now:

  • Flume
  • Coaster
  • Water CoasterFlume
  • (Battle) Boat ride
  • Play structures
  • Kiddie Area

For these purposes i'm not considering transport rides.

Now consider the animal attractions:

  • Shark Bay, incorporating 4 different 'hands on' experiences:
    • Reef Snorkel
    • Touch Pools
    • Shark Encounter Scuba
    • Glass Bottom Boat
  • Polar Bear Shores
  • Polar Bear Pre-School
  • Ray Reef (including ray feeding)
  • Seal Sea Lion enclosure
  • Penguin Enclosure
  • ANOTHER penguin enclosure
  • Fish (feeding near the bridge)
  • Seal Sea Lion Show
  • Dolphin Nursery
  • Dolphin Show
  • Dolphin Encounters (deep water shallow water)
  • Trainer for a day

I'm kind of torn in relation to the Cinema... it doesn't have animals, but it's about animals... Sea World San Diego has an attraction in this category (for me) which is a motionbase simulator, that takes you on a journey to the arctic Antarctic, after which you are deposited in the middle of their 'polar' exhibits including bears, penguins etc.

SO in my opinion, there are 4 rides an adult is going to ride - 3 of which are water rides... sucks in winter.

I could see our Sea World going down the line of broadening the animal exhibits - but they have no more room for a major enclosure (short of the 'wild' space), and any major enclosure is going to require too much back of house filtration equipment for the space they have.

They could enter into a partnership like other zoos and take on some of the animals they have in the American Sea World parks - like Otters etc. Orcas are definitely out, no matter how much anyone may want them, Blackfish has put the kybosh on that ever happening anywhere.

All that said, I actually found San Diego to have a VERY nice balance between animals and rides... so while I can't speak for Orlando or Texas, I don't think its a fair comment to say they are all too heavy on rides.

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I'm interested to see how SW America plans to introduce their brand to foreign shores using our perhaps more 'ecologically aware and responsible' Australian brand. I'd say this is a very positive and intelligent move for them to work their brand toward improving face in the public eye, using a tried and true formula that has been embraced by Asian holiday makers to the GC for decades.

- That in itself is the challenge. Our Sw is loved by our Eastern international visitors fundamentally for it's parkland feel and ambience that is not something that can easily be recreated on foreign shores, no doubt.

Such a partnership is for the growth of Sw venues into Asia, with the creative influence of our VTP vision. It will have no connection to the GC Park's, which atleast for now will remain under the same VTP umbrella

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      CLARK Kirby’s career has come full circle since, as a child, he helped clean the cinema of his then-fledging family business Village Roadshow.

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