Exhausting Week and home is dissolving--posted by Tony Garcia on 6/29/2006
You may have noticed an abscence by me. I have been incredibly busy again. And I am exhausted. I did go to all three Dodgers-Twins games this week which resulted in very little sleep and tons of driving. The Dodgers (best hitting team in the NL going into this series) got destroyed. I still had fun and the people around me in each of the games were fun. There was one Dodger Stadium tradition that poked its head during the Tuesday night game: Beach Ball Bashes. There were at least 5 beach balls bouncing around the Metrodome crowds and one that fell into the field of play. The tired wave made its way around the stadium a few times on Tuesday night.
However, the reason I am taking a break from hell week part 30 is a story that I found out about this morning. Announced last week is this disturbing story.
Six Flags Inc. is seeking buyers for six of its 30 properties, including Los Angeles' Magic Mountain and a park in Concord, the company said Friday.Magic Mountain is one of the premier Scream Parks with state of the art rollercoasters. I grew up with Magic Mountain before it was purchased by Six Flags (the park is actually 6 months younger than I am).
Profits are down for Six Flags, along with attendance numbers, and the parks it is looking to sell are the less-profitable parks. Those include parks in Los Angeles; Concord; Seattle; Denver; Houston; and Buffalo, N.Y., the company said.
Why would Six Flags close the park with more rollercoasters than any other in the world?
Yep, that and attendance is down system wide.
Executives said that Magic Mountain may get as much as $300 million just for its land, according to news reports.
The company said it's close to violating terms of $1.04 billion of its loans and is negotiating amendments with its banks. It will boost spending this year by $15 million on top of a $45 million increase already planned to hire staff and lure back customers. The company has about $2.1 billion in debt, owns 3,500 acres of excess land that it's looking to sell, and is hoping to drop debt down to $1.6 billion. Shapiro also told media that the company probably won't meet its earlier forecast of $340 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year.
Visitor counts dropped by as much as 1.3 million through June 18 at parks owned by the second-largest U.S. theme-park operator, a 13 percent decline from last year, the company said. Ticket sales suffered as Six Flags tried to keep rowdy teenagers out of its parks, executives told media, but the visitors who do come to the parks are spending an average of $4.12 more at the parks this year than last.Visitors are paying more because the park raised their admission AND their parking by a total of about $15.
Theme Park Insider's Blog Flume reports some of the irony in this announcement.
A comment I've made in a couple TV interviews since the story broke: It'd be ironic if Magic Mountain were sold off for real estate development, given that real estate development is the reason the park was built in the first place.Well, maybe we can pool our money together and buy the park. C'mon...free admission for the owners!!
Magic Mountain was not always a Six Flags park. Its builder and original owner was the Newhall Land Company, the developer that built many of the communities around the park. Newhall Land thought it needed a big attraction to lure families over the pass from the San Fernando Valley into the Santa Clarita. So it contracted SeaWorld's designers and built Magic Mountain.
How ironic, now, that the park might fall victim to the success of the real estate market it was built to inspire.