Six Flags Files for Bankruptcy
Apparently, entertainment isn’t recession-proof:
Amusement park operator Six Flags declared bankruptcy yesterday but says that it will keep its parks open, at least for now. According to the Washington Post, the company is carrying $2.4 billion in debt. Despite the fact that Six Flags reported 25 million visitors and posted record revenues in 2008, the debt is simply unsustainable, the Associated Press reports.
The WaPo story notes that part of the problem was a series of unfortunate events:
The company doubled its income from corporate sponsorship and from season ticket sales, and it added themed attractions based on the Looney Tunes characters, the Justice League of America, skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, the Wiggles and Thomas the Tank Engine.
But its summer 2007 attendance was slammed by bad weather in Georgia and Texas, and by an accident on a ride at its park in Kentucky. The same year, it sold seven of its theme parks to a Jacksonville, Fla., company for $312 million in an effort to improve its balance sheet.
What’s interesting is that attendance continues to boom. My first impression on reading the headline at Slate was that amusement parks may be, like the circus, a legacy of an era gone by. It would be easy to surmise that kids raised on video games, the Internet, and instant gratification would find standing in ridiculously long lines for a three minue ride boring. The attendance figures, however, would seem to belie that.