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.

 

Comments

DGMutley

Nemesis,

The tax is not punitive and vindictive. It is necessary to maintain Sandusky city services for CP.

We're not in competition with Mason. Mason has nothing except King's Island which is NOT an island. Mason, as Babo pointed out, is simply a crossroads between I-71, I-75, and King's Island.

4 percent is not enough; it has to be at least 6.

Crime is present in all cities.

Nemesis

The tax IS punitive and vindictive - just read the rhetoric from its supporters. There are lots of cities the same size that manage to maintain services without such an admissions tax windfall, both with and without big amusement parks.

We ARE in competition with Mason. Every year, Cedar Fair decides where to make capital investments, based on the return they expect various options to yield. If King's Island is consistently more profitable, it will receive a greater share of the capital, and eventually, CP will be an also ran in an industry where also rans eventually become housing subdivisions.

Mason, as has been pointed out here, has much more than King's Island - they have roughly 50 corporate headquarters, because they don't have the class-warfare hatred of business that seems to permeate Sandusky.

Crime in Sandusky is completely out of proportion to the population size. There are first ring suburbs of Cleveland with twice the population of Sandusky with less crime.

DGMutley

Use Google Earth and take a tour of Mason. There isn't anything there except King's Island which is NOT an ISLAND, and I-71 and I-75 converging on each other 4 miles apart.

CP would be crazy to move their home office and to quit investing in their top money maker on the sandy shores of Lake Erie with all the fabulous islands just a stone's throw away. It would be a big, big, mistake -- it would be CF's downfall.

Nemesis

They closed one park in Northern Ohio already, one that was connected by public transportation to the largest metropolitan area in the state, and the main reason was a hostile local municipality. Kings' Island is more accessible, with major cities in all directions, and right off a freeway exit. It has a longer season due to being further south.

The last big proxy battle among unit was based largely on one faction's plans to move the headquarters. Cedar Fair owns parks where there is no winter.

That you keep harping on Kings' Island not being an island just shows how little you understand the business dynamics at play. That's a FEATURE for them, not a liability. Did you notice on your Google Earth tour all the vacant woodland they have into which to expand? CP is at the point where they can't build a major ride without tearing down two existing ones. Kings' Island already has coasters whose footprint would consume half of CP's land area. Sandy shores of Lake Erie? Gimme a break. In that industry, it's all about staying out in front of the thrill ride arms race, and those rides consume land.

DGMutley

The park is still open. Wildwater Kingdom.

I'm not harping on King's Island not being an island, but it isn't.

On the hand, Cedar Point and the Chaussee is an island. Nice virtual tour on Google's Earth view.

Nemesis

"The park is still open. Wildwater Kingdom."

Barely - there's no marketing effort to speak of. I have lots of friends and family within 10 miles of it, and none of them has attended it or knows anyone who has. It's comparable to the hotel water parks in Perkins. If you'd be happy with that sort of decline for CP, well.... Let's just say that 3% of CP's current gate is way more than 8% of Wildwater Kingdom's gate. Keep digging

"I'm not harping on King's Island not being an island, but it isn't."

And the Disney's Magic Kingdom is actually a private corporation inside a constitutional republic, with no monarch. Whoopdeedoo. You bring up its non-island status repeatedly as if it's supposed to make a difference in this discussion, when the only difference the non-island status makes is that the expansion opportunities make it a more attractive investment.

"On the hand, Cedar Point and the Chaussee is an island."

And thus, no longer, strictly geographically speaking, a point. All of which works AGAINST it as an investment, since they are running out of space.

DGMutley

""On the hand, Cedar Point and the Chaussee is an island."

And thus, no longer, strictly geographically speaking, a point. All of which works AGAINST it as an investment, since they are running out of space."

Cool. Score 1.

DGMutley

Nemesis,

Wrong. They pay the tax that they compelled by law to charge. It's irrelevant whether it shows up on the receipt.

Nemesis

No law compells them to charge the tax, the law compells them to PAY it. If they explicitly charge the tax, but do not pay it to the city, they are in violation, but, as long as the city gets paid, they don't give a rat's behind where CP got the money.

DGMutley

I could say it again but I won't.

shsalum

From everything I could see, Kings Island pays zero admission tax as there was a hearing years ago and their council voted against it. When you read the stories, some council members recognized all the revenue that the park creates for the city and did not want to jeopardize it. Interesting on their behalf.

Babo

Cedar Fair launched a scorched earth campaign against the tax even though it doesn't really impact their bottom line at all as it is paid by customers just like you or I pay a sales tax. Like here, CF controlled several politicians in a small community and was able to mislead the community.

Better comparisons would be larger communities such as Orlando or closer to home Cleveland where the politicians are not controlled by one big player. Cleveland charges 8% admissions tax on Browns and Indians tickets. Orlando charges 8% and has no income tax.

IMO, Sandusky should emulate Orlando and not a backwater one horse town like Mason, Ohio and charge 8% and eliminate the income tax to attract new residents and businesses.

KnuckleDragger

That backwater, one horse town sports a population of 32,000,about 6,500more than Sandtucky. It had grown by 40% from 2000 to 2012 unlike Sandtucky which has steadily lost population. The median household income is over $80K vs. Sandtucky $34K. 75% of Mason's population possess an education of a Bachelor's degree of higher. Backwater, one horse town? LMAO!!! You don't know what you're talking abut.

Babo

It's the county seat of Warren County, Ohio.

KnuckleDragger

Uh, Lebanon is the county seat of Warren county. Mason is more of an affluent suburb of Cincinnati.

Babo

Yes, I know. I tried to change it but the filters were not working last night and would not allow correction.

Mason is a bedroom community for Cincinnati which explains its explosive growth from a small town to a suburb. Those commuters drive up the value of real estate and provide a tax base but are too busy to run the town which at its core is still pretty backward. I'd compare it to Avon Ohio. .

I will concede that Mason is not burdened with the rust belt problems of Sandusky and the problem of a few families and special interest groups thinking they own the town. However, Sandusky has a lot more potential than Mason IMO.

Nemesis

Babo - those facts, they sting a little, don't they? None of your backpedaling changes the fact that it's growing and more prosperous than Sandusky. That's not because they residents are too busy to run their town - it's because they run it like Americans, not like two bit Fidel Castro wannabes looking to stick it to anyone who dares to be more successful. What you call backward we call capitalist. Lots of people are moving to Avon to escape inner ring suburbs run by leftists like you who think profit is a dirty word.

Notice that the topic of this article - this year's big expenditure in the thrill ride arms race went SOMEWHERE ELSE! With the demolition of Wildcat, CP dropped from having the most coasters, and the investment that could have restored that status went SOMEWHERE ELSE WITH A LESS HOSTILE COMMUNITY. If this campaign succeeds, within 5 years, CF's flagship park will be Kings Island

Yes, yes, by all means, let's look at a town where everything has gone well, and do exactly the opposite. Let's let the class-warfare, business-and-success-hating marxists do to Sandusky what they did to Detroit.

Babo

Wow, you're a bit histrionic.

Please explain why CP is exempt from paying sales tax like my business must do. Yes that's right I'm a capitalist who owns my own business, pays my employee payroll taxes, collects and pays sales tax, and marvels at people like you who continue to want to provide corporate welfare to billion dollar companies.

KnuckleDragger

CP does pay sales tax, it is included in the price of the product. Do a little research would ya?

Babo

You are mistaken. CP does not collect and then pay any sales tax on the sale of admissions tickets. It does collect from the customer and then pay sales tax on drinks, food etc which as you point out is built into the price. However admissions comprises the bulk of their sales and there is no sales tax on admissions in the State of Ohio.

Nemesis

Yes, they collect and pay sales tax on all taxable transactions, just like every other business in the state. The question of which transactions are taxable and whether the criteria are fair is a non-sequitur here, otherwise it would be germane for me to complain that Sandusky residents buying Diet Mountain Dew with foodstamps do not pay sales tax, but those paying out of pocket do. The point is, CP does not seek, nor receive any excemption from normal sales taxes, any more than you do by not having to pay sales tax on your wages.

Actually, admissions is NOT the bulk. Their primary performance measure is in-park sales. I've managed an entertainment business - the primary profit drivers are in-venue sales to a captive audience. Why do you think they don't allow outside food?

Nemesis

"Please explain why CP is exempt from paying sales tax like my business must do."

I have no need to explain your counterfactual fantasy musings. CP pays sales tax on every souvenir and every morsel of food sold.

"Yes that's right I'm a capitalist who owns my own business,"

You're a business owner, but no capitalist. You're a tax and spend leftist - you want the city to increase the amount it sucks out of the private sector by 25% or more.

"and marvels at people like you who continue to want to provide corporate welfare to billion dollar companies."

In what wild hallucination of yours is the very existence of an admissions tax, a tax directly targeted at a company's core business, and endorsing a modest increase in that tax, a call for corporate welfare?

Babo

My point was there is no sales tax paid on the price of Admissions to the park. Therefore the bulk of revenues are exempt from sales tax unlike most other businesses.

Recreation is a luxury, not a necessity. If people must pay sales tax on clothing or toiletries then they ought to pay some tax on recreation either through admissions tax (which remains local) or through a sales tax (which will be spread out through the State and county)to support the infrastructure needed to support it.

[C]ounterfactual fantasy musings" and "wild hallucinations" are ad hominem attacks that reflect poorly upon you by demonstrating you cannot argue the merits of your position.

Nemesis

"My point was there is no sales tax paid on the price of Admissions to the park. Therefore the bulk of revenues are exempt from sales tax unlike most other businesses."

Nor are sales taxes paid on my salary, on food for home consumption, and for a variety of services, entertainment being a service rendered. Also, admissions aren't the bulk of revenues and certainly are not the major profit center.

"Recreation is a luxury, not a necessity."

Then why does the city government need to spend money on it? Close and sell the parks, shut down the recreation department. There, you've shown us the way to solve the budget crisis with no new taxes - maybe some glimmer of capitalism survives in your hear after all.

"If people must pay sales tax on clothing or toiletries "

In some states, they don't. Some of those states might have amusement parks, where one can buy a souvenir t-shirt tax free. What should fall under the sales tax is a separate issue, though (one on which I could go on at some length.)

"then they ought to pay some tax on recreation either through admissions tax (which remains local) or through a sales tax (which will be spread out through the State and county)to support the infrastructure needed to support it."

AND IT ALREADY IS, at a rate that currently exceeds the total local portion of sales taxes, but that's apparently not enough taxation to sate your marxist appetites.

""[C]ounterfactual fantasy musings" and "wild hallucinations" are ad hominem attacks that reflect poorly upon you by demonstrating you cannot argue the merits of your position."

No, they're not. They are characterizations of the degree to which your assertions are fallacies. What reflects an inability to argue the merits is your attempt to cry ad hominem rather than defend those assertions as reasonable. Oh, and I seem to remember SOMEONE calling me histrionic.....

The claim that CP is excempt from sales tax is counterfactual - they enjoy no excemption from the EXACT same sales tax laws as every single other business in the state. Certain types of transactions are UNIVERSALLY excempt from sales tax no matter who engages in them, and CP happens to engage in those transactions. Your assertion is akin to claiming Meijer "is exempt from paying sales tax like my business must do" because a large part of Meijer's business is untaxable grocery sales. Calling your false assertion musings was actually a favor, as most other terms I might have used would assign far greater responsibility for the counterfactual nature of the words.

The characterization of my position as advocating corporate welfare is similarly so far outside the realm of reality as to warrant suspicions it's the result of hallucination. I've supported the current admissions tax, which targets one local business in an almost punitive fashion, and advocated a modest increase.

DGMutley

It's more prosperous than Sandusky because the city isn't underfunded. Mason is similar in size to Sandusky but their city budget is 24 million a year compared to our 16 million. With all Sandusky city services compared to Mason's the budgets should be flip-flopped.

They have 39 police officers and 60 firefighters which is comparable to Sandusky. The town is 18 sq. miles to our 21 sq. miles. King Island sits right off of I-71 so the traffic is in and out without beating up the town.

KnuckleDragger

Sandusky is underfunded because a large percentage of the tax base (income taxes) work very little or don't work at all. In a city filled with the entitlement crowd that explains why Mason is more successful. People work, and pay taxes in Mason vs. Sandusky where many people hardly work and feed from the government teat.

Nemesis

"It's more prosperous than Sandusky because the city isn't underfunded. Mason is similar in size to Sandusky but their city budget is 24 million a year compared to our 16 million."

No, it's prosperous because its residents are educated, productive people. Their city budget represents a much smaller percentage of the total economic activity in the community than does Sandusky's. Your assertion that prosperity is measured in terms of government spending further demonstrates your inherently marxist worldview.

"They have 39 police officers"

And how do those officers spend their time? Bet it's not breaking up gunfights at a place like DJ's.

DGMutley

No. The residents in Mason are more prosperous in terms of income than Sandusky residents but that is because Mason is a bedroom community of Cincinnati.

The CITY of Mason is more prosperous because their funding adequately covers their budget. Sandusky CITY funding hasn't been sufficient to run the city for at least the last several years. The budget is the same as it was 13 years ago.

Nemesis

No, the CITY of Mason is more prosperous (i.e. receives more revenue) BECAUSE its citizens are more prosperous because, as I said, those citizens are more educated and productive. Their funding adequately covers a budget that is probably very lavish in services, because those citizens both desire and are willing to PERSONALLY pay for them with income taxes on themselves, rather than bleeding the businesses that bring jobs and further prosperity to their community.

KnuckleDragger

LOL. Sandusky has potential? What would that be? I wouldn't exactly compare it to Avon. Try spending a little time there, its nothing like Avon, and Sandusky is dying and will likely never reach that potential you speak of.

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