SeaWorld Entertainment (NASDAQ:SEAS) went public last year for $27, but it has not been doing too well. The company after a long wait finally decided to bring a change in its leadership and the CEO of the marine-life theme park, Jim Atchison will be stepping down from his post next month. The board’s chairman will be taking over the post temporarily until the park’s operator finds another person for the job. Atchison is not the only one who will have a change of job; according to reports about 300 employees at Sea World have been given pink slips on Friday. While Atchison will be getting a share from the park, which is worth millions, the employees who are being laid off will not be getting any benefits.
SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) has been facing difficulties ever since a documentary titled Blackfish came out. The unfavourable hype that the SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) faced due to its portrayal in Blackfish will get flared up due to the layoff the employees are facing.
The parent company of SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS), Busch Gardens and Aquatica saw a 4.1% decrease in traffic last year and another 4.7% decline was witnessed through the first 3 quarters of the year 2014.
However, the issue is not with the attendance alone. SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) declared an 8% decrease in year-over-year revenues during its last quarter and according to analysis, people who visit the park do not spend as much money in the park as they used to.
SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) does not want to acknowledge the Blackfish, but the fact remains that the documentary is a main cause of the company’s decline. The documentary talks about how the marine-theme park holds killer whales in captivity and makes them perform for the amusement of the audience. People do not want to spend money in SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) anymore and those who come to visit the place are reluctant in buying the merchandise from the park because they do not wish to be associated with it.
SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) hasn’t done much to answer the allegations made in the documentary Blackfish, which is extremely popular amongst people and a lot of activists also associate with the documentary. The company can only hope that the new CEO will have some new ideas to turn things around for the park.
SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) lately announced that it would be expanding its orca tanks. This news could have benefited the company, if SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) had coordinated with the activist leaders and used this announcement as a compromise but due to the company’s lack of understanding, the news was not received well. Also, the implementation of expanding the orca tanks will take quite some time. SeaWorld (NASDAQ:SEAS) could have merged with the zoo which is a kinder animal habitat and less controversial, but it did not do so.
One can only hope that the company’s new CEO will realize that the rising economy and the decrease in gas prices can both be beneficiary for attracting guests to the park and takes advantage of the opportunity.