Cedar Fair building on record revenue

Cedar Point's parent company expects attendance boost from Kings Island's new Banshee coaster
Associated Press
Apr 21, 2014

A new roller coaster at southwestern Ohio's Kings Island theme park is expected to contribute to another year of record revenue and attendance for its parent company.

Sandusky-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. owns the park in Mason, near Cincinnati, as well as Cedar Point in northern Ohio.

Net revenues last year reached $1.14 billion. A record-breaking 23.5 million visitors in 2013 attended Cedar Fair's 15 amusement and water parks in Ohio, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan and Canada.

The company is expected to get an attendance boost out of the new Kings Island coaster called Banshee, which debuted with the park's opening for the season on Friday, according to the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1i8j7gH ). The $24 million ride is being touted as the world's longest inverted roller coaster.

The Great Recession that began at the end of 2007 hurt Cedar Fair's results in 2009. Net revenues dropped to approximately $916 million that year from more than $996 million in 2008. Sales returned in 2010 above the year before, to $977.6 million, and have risen every year since, according to the company.

"During a time of recession, we may lose some people who can no longer afford to come to our properties, but we might also pick up the middle-class to higher-income family that's choosing to forgo that trip to Florida and stay closer to home," said Stacy Frole, the company's vice president of investor relations.

Cedar Fair is investing about $145 million this year in new rides, technology and other park improvements across the company, including the new Banshee steel roller coaster, Frole said. About $120 million was spent in 2013.

Kings Island and Cedar Point each draw more than 3 million visits per year and are always ranked among the top 20 theme parks in North America, said Dennis Speigel of the consultant group International Theme Park Services.




Time to increase the admissions tax. The working people that live in the city are not building on record revenue.


You mean non-working, or barely working.

JT Adams St

We're working on it. Supporters of an admissions tax increase will be meeting at 9 am on Saturday at the central fire station on Market Street. Everyone who supports an admissions tax increase is welcome to attend.


What % is the admission tax in Mason, Ohio at Kings Island? We should be charging at least the same as they are being our city's are similar in having an Amusement Park and Indoor/Outdoor Waterparks.


Couldnt agree more. If their doing good they should pay more for the city and the residents who are not working or wont work. Share the wealth. Any other local companies and hotels should give more too! If they plan on making money they should plan on giving it up to us. Thats just the way it works.


You left out all the rich attorney's that live on Cedar Point Road. lol


Lifetimeresident: "If they plan on making money they should plan on giving it up to us. Thats just the way it works."

Sounds like a mobster talking about a protection racket. How apropos.


CP needs to increase prices, especially for fast lane pass to keep out the undesirables.


I've often said I'd pay a premium to go on a no-hillbilly day when they set a minimum tooth-to-tattoo ratio for admission.


LOL, so you admit that many of the people Cedar Point attracts as customers aren't the same quality as people who live in Mason Ohio and not good enough to associate with you. Yet you want the people of Sandusky to subsidize their recreation?


"LOL, so you admit that many of the people Cedar Point attracts as customers aren't the same quality as people who live in Mason Ohio"
Nor are a lot of Kings' Island visitors, but their money spends the same.

"Yet you want the people of Sandusky to subsidize their recreation?"

In what way do the people of Sandusky subsidize their recreation? This should be fun.


The people in Sandusky are footing the bill for the infrastructure that is being provided for Cedar Point.


No they're not. Cedar Point relies on less than 4 miles of Sandusky roads, for which the current admissions tax, plus income taxes of CP employees, pays many times over.


You forgot the enormous seasonal increase in water and sewer capacity that the City must provide but doesn't actually need to support its year round population and growth.

Also, provide some evidence to support your statements that the income taxes and admissions taxes fully pay for the streets, bridges, extra police and fire protection.

Finally you fail to include quality of life issues. Residents must contend with noise, pollution, and traffic from an explosion in the temporary population consisting in large part of people you stated are beneath you.


The population grows to 55,000 plus per day during the summer months.


Water and sewer are fee based services. EVERY customer pays in direct proportion to the burden they place on the system. CP's marina alone uses literally TONS of water that never enter the sewer system, but, like you and me, they are billed for sewer based on water usage.

Current admissions taxes make up 20% of the city's budget, and their payroll taxes easily bring it to 25%. CP uses four miles of city roads for 5 months of the year. They have their own police force and EMS service, and can internally handle 75% of the calls a fire department usually receives. There have also been more shootings in purely local neighborhoods of Sandusky in the last year than on CP property in the recorded history of the peninsula.

Quality of life issues are the price paid for the thousands of jobs the tourist industry creates, and really, they fall mostly on people who live outside the city limits. They are more than adequately compensated by the quality of life upside - if not for the tourist industry, dining out venues in town would be dismal. There'd be no Zinc, no Crush, no sushi, you'd pretty much be limited to burgers, pizza, fried chicken and midwestern pablum.


Cedar Point doesn't pay the admission tax.


Yes, they do, and if you pressed them, they could show you the cancelled check made out to the city. There is no city tax collector at the front gate. In fact, CP ALSO pays the sales tax on everything sold in the park - it's rolled into the posted price. Neither the state nor the city cares whether they absorb the cost or pass it on, as long as they get their cut of the total paid for all transactions.


They collect the tax but they can't keep it or use it.


No, they PAY the tax, and are free to absorb that cost or pass it directly to customers. The customer no more pays the tax than my employer pays my cable TV bill.


You really believe they absorb the cost?! You never studied cost accounting apparently

The admissions tax just like every other tax, payroll, maintenance, repairs, supplies, and every possible expense associated with running the park is accounted for when the company calculates what it needs to charge its customers to turn a profit.

The customers not CF pay for everything! If this was not true, there would be no charge to enter the park.


I never said they absorb it - I said it was their choice to absorb it or not.

I fully understand cost accounting. That doesn't change the fact that, when costs increase, vendors can choose whether to accept a lower profit margin or pass the cost on to consumers, depending on the elasticity of consumer demand.


And a rise in the Admissions Tax to 8% (almost identical to the Sales Tax rate which consumers expect to pay) will have a negligible impact on demand for recreational activity.


Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it will mean the average customer buys one fewer ice cream cone in the park, which trickles down to a drop in Toft's sales to CP.

The point is, it's punitive and vindictive, it WILL have some impact on profits, and every year, whether you realize it or not, we're in competition with Mason, OH, which you've helpfully pointed out is much more business-friendly, for Cedar Fair capital improvement investment. Plus, other business owners will notice. There's a reason Mason is home to 50 other corporate headquarters - they know that the city doesn't have a burning need to put the screws to them, as you and your ilk seem to have.

The other pont is, it represents a completely unncessary 25% increase in the city's total taxation/revenue. That's 25% more that City Hall will be sucking out of the private sector. Now, unless you're the closet marxist you claim not to be, that's a bad thing. Even an avowed socialist like Tim Schwanger has said he doesn't trust them to spend it in the residents' best interest.

An increase to 4% leaves Sandusky more attractive than most amusement park towns while comfortably solving the current budget crisis and gives the city breathing room to take a serious look at its spending, hopefully with a city manager who doesn't scribble a budget on a scrap of paper.

The second step is to start offering thugs who go through our local courts a choice of jail or a one way bus ticket out of town, along with other steps to stop attracting more members of the dependent class. That's a part of my argument to which you've been carefully avoiding responding. Sandusky'e problems are caused for the most part by residents, not tourists - you can't lay responsibility for the city's failure to maintain a reasonable vestige of civilization on the tourists.


You raise some valid points. However, I maintain any increase in Admissions Taxes must be tied to a reduction in income tax and a modest increase to 4% isn't going to be effective in reducing the income tax rate.

Maybe 6% with a reduction to 0.5% income tax rate would work as long as there is a comprehensive plan to improve traffic flow and the appearance of the city. The goal is to attract productive people and as you point out many of the residents are not paying income taxes at all.


"I maintain any increase in Admissions Taxes must be tied to a reduction in income tax and a modest increase to 4% isn't going to be effective in reducing the income tax rate."

Nor is 8%. In a $16 million budget, the 3% admissions tax accounts for roughly 3 million. The income tax provides the bulk of the remainder, let's say 12 million. Thus, at 8%, you'd be adding roughly 5 million, which is still less than half of the income tax revenue. It's not workable.

"The goal is to attract productive people and as you point out many of the residents are not paying income taxes at all."

EXACTLY. Want to know who IS paying them? Cedar Point employees. In fact, I'd bet that during the summer months, CP's wittholding is more than half the city's cash flow. So, do you think MAYBE it might be time to drop the "residents subsidizing tourists' recreation" crap?
Look around. a 1% municipal income tax is pretty much the standard throughout the state. I bet Mason has it too. NOWHERE is it an obstacle to attracting productive people, because, unlike the bracketed federal income tax, it's flat, and thus regressive - to someone making good money, it's nothing. Frankly, I'd like nothing better than to shift my tax bill more to the city and less to the Columbus or Washington, because neither Kasich nor Obama ever has to worry about sharing a line at the supermarket with me and getting an earful about something stupid they've done with my tax dollars.

The income tax is NOT the problem. The problem is pink-and-black-hammer-wielding teen baby mommas - productive people don't want to live near them. The problem can be found any Saturday night at DJ's. Raising the admissions tax, or cutting the income tax isn't going to solve that. If the city declared DJ's a nuisance, I bet Cedar Point would GLADLY provide the bulldozer to flatten it free of charge. Sandusky's problem is that it's been governed for too long under the tax-and-spend leftist ideals embodied in your campaign, and that has attracted an overabundance of the dependent and criminal classes. When leaders make it their mission in life to confiscate from the productive in order to provide handouts for the unproductive, it drives away the former and draws the latter.

My beef with your campaign is the same as my beef (most of the time) with Tim Schwanger - it's all about rabble rousing a mob to figuratively show up with pitchforks and torches at the doorstep of anyone who dares to succeed at being better off than anyone else, demanding that they disgorge the fruits of their efforts to the benefit of the mob.


What does CP employee's withholding have to do with anything? That goes to the feds.

The pink-and-black-hammer-wielding teen baby momma is not the problem you're stereotyping. DJ's is a nuisance. I'm sure the city is aware.


Take a closer look at your pay stubs. Those working within a city have MUNICIPAL income taxes withheld from their checks as well, which go to the city.

They are the problem. No one wants to live or locate their business in Sandusky because of them. Sandusky's fiscal problems stem from having too many residents who live by a ghetto thug culture.

Sandusky residents don't subsidize CP visitors, but rather, CP visitors, as state and federal taxpayers, subsidize the food, shelter, healthcare, child care, and cellphones of entirely too many Sandusky residents.


The city never collected city income tax from CP's seasonal workers in the past. I don't know if they do now or not, probably not.

You keep wanting to indict the population for the random act of a mother using poor judgement. In all the years here in Sandusky I have never, ever, read about a mother egging her daughter on in a fight. You can keep indicting the people that live in Sandusky, the kids living in Sandusky, the City School system, and on and on, because that is your right. I'm just telling you that it just ain't so.


If the city isn't collecting income tax from all CP employees, then that seems like a fine place to start looking for more revenue. Enforce the tax laws on the books before passing new ones.

That random act is just this week's episode of Sandusky's version of "boyz in the hood." How many towns under 25,000 people surrounded by farmland have as many shootings as Sandusky? There are entire classrooms in Sandusky city schools where only on or two kids have grandparents over the age of 35. Talk to a realtor and ask them why people aren't lining up to buy houses in Sandusky, and they'll tell you what they told me. Everywhere you go within the city limits, you're never more than a few blocks from an installment of the SR's police blotter.

Yes, there are upstanding people living within the city, but unless they live on the Chausee, they live within a few blocks of thugs.

And yet, you keep wanting to indict tourism as some sort of plague upon the city, and want successful businesses that bring tourist dollars to the city to relieve residents of responsibility to pay for the services they consume. People in non-tourist cities pay for police, firefighters, snowplowing, etc., why can't people in Sandusky do so, the same way they do in Mason? And before you start in about the infrastructure burden, we both know that between payroll, sales, and current admission taxes, CP already pays in excess* of the cost of the incremental infrastructure burden attributable to their customers, so they're already subsidizing residents.

*Current admissions taxes constitute 20% of the city budget. Add in payroll taxes, and they easily are carrying 25% of the city budget, which is more than enough to cover the wear and tear on the infrastructure attributable to those who drive to and from the park without spending a dime within the city limits. As for water/sewer burden, they pay fees for those services in direct proportion to the burden they impose.