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.