Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

SeaWorld Joins Disney, Universal in Closing Its Theme Parks

By Daniel B. Kline - Mar 16, 2020 at 9:18AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

All the major theme park players have shut down.

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS 0.56%) has decided to close all of its theme parks through the end of March. The company followed Walt Disney (DIS 0.17%) and Comcast's(CMCSA 0.92%) Universal Studios in shutting down operations for at least a few weeks.

"During this temporary closure, essential personnel and animal care experts will continue to look after the health, safety and nutritional needs of the animals in our care," the company's CEO Serge Rivera wrote in a letter obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

A roller coaster at SeaWorld dips into the water.

SeaWorld has closed its parks at least through the end of the month. Image source: SeaWorld.

SeaWorld is struggling

There are some pretty major differences between SeaWorld and its theme park rivals. Theme parks are only a portion of the business for Comcast and Disney. Both of those companies will lose significant revenue due to the closures but they're well positioned to weather the storm even if it lasts longer than the end of March.

SeaWorld is not in as strong a position. It made about $90 million in 2019 but lost $24 million in its most recent quarter.

Shutting down will cost the company money in the current quarter and in the longer term. Annual passholders, for example, will have their passes extended by the length of the closure. That will push renewal money further down the road for SeaWorld.

Murky seas ahead

Whenever normal travel returns -- and that could be two months from now or longer -- Disney and Universal Studios will quickly ramp back up. SeaWorld may face a longer impact given that it's already sort of the third choice for most consumers. That may not push the company into bankruptcy, but it's going to force continued austerity maneuvers that may greatly slow its turnaround efforts.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. Stock Quote
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
$44.42 (0.56%) $0.24
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
$94.56 (0.17%) $0.16
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
$39.60 (0.92%) $0.36

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 07/01/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.