The news that AB-InBev would be selling the Busch theme parks came as a surprise to almost no one. The sale of SeaWorld has the potential to change the Central Florida theme park business forever. The other news I’m reading could be an even bigger game changer.
Beth Kassab at the Orlando Sentinel speculates about what a new partnership between Universal Studios (co-owned by the Blackstone Group) and SeaWorld would look like in Orlando if another group owned by Blackstone buys Busch Entertainment.
More than just ticket packages, hotel rooms, expanded transportation options or even a dining plan shared between the two properties could prove to be smart additions, especially if such a partnership were structured to appeal to domestic visitors as well.
That could lure more people off Disney property for longer periods of time, hindering Disney’s strategy to keep its guests at its own parks, hotels and restaurants.
This Merlin/Blackstone deal seems the most likely, but we won’t know until all the cards are cast.
This deal, btw, would solve one of Universal Orlando’s problems, which is what to do with Wet-n-Wild. They could just combine it with Aquatica for one mega waterpark.
But that’s not the biggest news this week. Themepark Insider read between the lines of Six Flags most recent SEC filing and it spelled Bankruptcy. This means Six Flags is likely looking for a buyer for its smaller properties, possibly the whole enchilada. Will this be another Cypress Gardens where debt did in an otherwise profitable park?