SA theme park owner sees huge drop in attendance

While still turning a profit, this Arlington-based company has some industry experts on alert.

Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger Dive Coaster opened at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in the summer of 2022. (Courtesy, Six Flags)

SAN ANTONIO – Fiesta Texas parent Six Flags Entertainment Corp. is on a roller coaster ride and some shareholders may be looking to hop off the train if the Arlington-based company can’t correct the steep hit in park attendance.

Four million fewer guests visited Six Flags parks in the recently completed third quarter than during the same period a year ago. Over the first nine months of this year, the company’s turnstile count is down by 5.5 million customers.

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Six Flags leadership attributes the steep decline in attendance to increased ticket prices, as well as the elimination of free and heavily discounted tickets.

Whatever the cause, Six Flags revenue fell 21% to $505 million for the third quarter. The company’s net income of $116 million was down 26% from the same three-month span in 2021.

Six Flags stock was trading at $21.73 at press time on Nov. 10 after the stock market closed — up $2.59 per share over the previous day’s market closing price but but less than half the value of its 52-week high, which was $47.24 per share.

Fiesta Texas, initially owned by USAA, opened in 1992 in the La Cantera master-planned development. A few years later, the 200-acre park became part of a Six Flags portfolio that’s since undergone multiple ownership changes.

Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul, who got the job nearly a year ago, said this was a year of “transition” for the organization and it will take time to achieve his “ambitious goals.”

“These are some of the worst performances for a quarter I’ve ever seen at Six Flags,” said Dennis Speigel, CEO of International Theme Park Services Inc., an industry management and consulting firm. “You need to spin the turnstile. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for what is happening within this company.”

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

Read the full story on the San Antonio Business Journal.

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