Still facing declining attendance and revenue, the Florida-based parent of SeaWorld San Diego reported a net loss of $12.5 million for 2016.
Orlando-headquartered SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., which operates three SeaWorld parks among 12 themed venues nationwide, reported total revenue of $1.34 billion in 2016, down from $1.37 billion in 2015. A year ago, the company posted net income of $49.1 million.
Nationwide attendance for the year dropped by 2.1 percent, to approximately 22 million, which officials attributed primarily to declines at the company’s Florida and Northeast U.S. locations. Those declines were partly offset by an increase at its Texas parks, while attendance at its California locations was relatively flat year-over-year.
In San Diego County, the company owns and operates SeaWorld San Diego at Mission Bay, along with the Aquatica water park in Chula Vista. In January, SeaWorld San Diego presented its final killer whale performance show, among several moves the company has made in response to backlash spurred largely by the 2013 documentary “Blackfish,” raising issues about the treatment of captive orcas.
For the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31, SeaWorld Entertainment reported revenue of $267.6 million, down slightly from $267.9 million in the year-ago quarter. The net loss for the quarter was $11.9 million, compared with a net loss of $11 million in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Attendance for the fourth quarter was down 0.7 percent nationwide, to approximately 4.3 million. The company cited impacts including Hurricane Matthew and an expected decline in attendance from Latin America, largely offset by improvements at its parks in Texas and California.
SeaWorld San Diego recently announced plans for Electric Eel, a new looping roller coaster with multiple launch elements, slated for a summer 2018 opening. The coaster will follow the debut this year of several local attractions including the expedition-themed Ocean Explorer, part of a larger $175 million in 2017 investments planned nationwide by SeaWorld Entertainment.