Six Flags


Six Flags

Infobox Company
company_name = Six Flags, Inc.
company_
company_type = Public (NYSE|SIX)
foundation = 1961
location = New York, New York
key_people = Mark Shapiro, President and Chief Executive Officer; Jeffrey Speed, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
industry = Amusement park operator
products =
revenue = profit USD$945.6 million (2006) [ [http://library.corporate-ir.net/library/61/616/61629/items/240340/2006_Annual_Report.pdf Six Flags 2006 Annual Report, page 27] ]
operating_income = loss USD$232.8 million (2006)
net_income = loss USD$305.6 million (2006)
num_employees = 2,500 full-time; 33,000 seasonal
parent =
subsid =
homepage = http://www.sixflags.com/
footnotes =

Six Flags, Inc (commonly Six Flags) is one of the world's largest chains of amusement parks and theme parks, based on quantity of properties. The company maintains 21 properties located throughout North America, including theme parks, water parks and family entertainment centers. In 2007, Six Flags properties hosted approximately 24.9 million guests, making it the fourth-most popular theme park company in the world. [cite web | url=http://www.connectingindustry.com/downloads/pwteaerasupp.pdf | title=TEA/ERA Theme Park Attendance Report 2007 | author= | work=www.themeit.com | date=2008-03-14 | accessdate=2008-03-14 |format=PDF]

The company was founded in Texas and took its name from its first property, Six Flags Over Texas, and the six flags that have flown over the state of Texas during its history, namely those of Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, The Confederate States of America, and the United States of America.

History

Beginnings

[
cite web|url=http://www.findlocalguide.net/California.Los-Angeles.6-Flags.77.$.html|title=Six Flags Magic Mountain|publisher= [http://www.findlocalguide.net Find a Local Guide] |accessdate=2007-12-25] ]

The Six Flags chain began in 1961 with the creation of Six Flags Over Texas by Angus G. Wynne of Arlington, Texas, which initially featured a Native American village, a gondola ride, a railroad, some Wild West shows, a stagecoach ride, and "Skull Island", a pirate-themed adventure attraction. There was also an excursion aboard "French" boats through a wilderness full of animated puppets. Over time, all of those attractions, except for the railroad, would be replaced by others, such as roller coasters, swing rides, log flumes, and shoot-the-chute rides, as well as an observation tower.

Acquisition by Premier Parks

Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. was purchased in whole on April 1, 1998 from Time Warner by Oklahoma City-based Premier Parks for $1.86 billion. Premier then began to apply the Six Flags name to a number of smaller parks that the company had already owned, including Darien Lake, Elitch Gardens, Kentucky Kingdom and Adventure World.

In 2000, Premier Parks assumed the Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. name and continued re-branding its parks, most notably the former Geauga Lake into Six Flags Ohio. Six Flags began vigorously expanding, attempting to branch out internationally, acquiring numerous properties across the country and overseas including the Walibi and Warner Bros. Movie World chains and historic Belgian park Bellewaerde in Europe, La Ronde in Canada, and Reino Aventura in Mexico. Three of those parks were re-branded as Six Flags parks--Walibi Flevo became Six Flags Holland, Walibi Wavre became Six Flags Belgium and Reino Aventura became Six Flags Mexico.

In 2001, Six Flags acquired the former SeaWorld Ohio from Busch Entertainment Corporation, merged it with the adjacent Six Flags Ohio and re-branded the park again, this time into Six Flags Worlds of Adventure. The park was positioned to compete against northern Ohio's more famous amusement park, Cedar Point.

ell-off of assets and shareholder revolt

The company lost money every year since 1998, amassing more than $2 billion in debt, which some analysts say is due to over-expansion and mismanagement. In 2004, Six Flags began to close and sell properties in an effort to help alleviate the company's growing debt. On March 10, Six Flags sold its European parks, with the exception of the Movie World park in Madrid, Spain, to Star Parks Group. The Madrid park was sold back to Time Warner and renamed "Parque Warner Madrid." In April that year, Six Flags determined that the investment required to keep Worlds of Adventure competitive with Cedar Point would be too great, and thus the company sold the park to Cedar Fair, the owner of Cedar Point. These sales raised $345 million dollars in an effort to relieve Six Flags' massive debt. [ [http://www.coastergallery.com/SFSale.html CoasterGallery.com - Six Flags sells numerous parks ] ]

In 2005, Six Flags endured even more turmoil. Some of the company's largest investors, notably Bill Gates' Cascade Investments (which owns about 11% of Six Flags) and Daniel Snyder's Red Zone, LLC (which owns 12%), demanded change. Indeed, on August 17, 2005, Red Zone began a proxy battle to gain control of Six Flags' board of directors. Later that month, Six Flags New Orleans would be severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

On September 12, 2005, Six Flags Chief Executive Officer Kieran Burke announced that Six Flags Astroworld would be closed and demolished at the end of the 2005 season. The company cited issues such as the park's performance, and parking issues involving the Houston Texans football team, Reliant Stadium, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, leveraged with the estimated value of the property upon which the park was located. Company executives were expecting to receive upwards of $150 million for the real estate, but ended up receiving $77 million when the bare property (which cost $20 million to clear) was sold to a development corporation in 2006. [ [http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/stories/2006/05/08/daily27.html?from_rss=1 Local developer to acquire former Astroworld site - Houston Business Journal: ] ] . On November 22, 2005, Red Zone announced it had gained control of the board. Kieran Burke was removed on December 14, 2005 and replaced by Mark Shapiro, former Executive Vice President of Programming at ESPN. Six Flags then named former Representative Jack Kemp, entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein, and the former president, Michael Kassan, of the Interpublic Group of Companies Incorporated, a global marketing and advertising agency, to their newly revamped board of directors.

Even with the new management team, the sell-off would continue into 2006. On January 27, Six Flags announced the sale of the Frontier City theme park and White Water Bay water park, both located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the conclusion of the 2006 operating season. At the same time, Six Flags also announced its plan to close corporate offices in Oklahoma City, moving its headquarters to New York City. Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro said he expects the parks to continue operation after the sale, a lesson the company learned after its public relations debacle with the closure of Astroworld.

In June 2006, Six Flags announced it was considering closing or selling up to six of its parks, including Elitch Gardens, Darien Lake, WaterWorld in Concord, California, Wild Waves and Enchanted Village in Federal Way, Washington, Splashtown in Houston, Texas and, most notably, Six Flags Magic Mountain. [ [http://www.thedenverchannel.com/money/9415831/detail.html?rss=den&psp=money Six Flags Considers Selling Elitch Gardens - Money News Story - KMGH Denver ] ] In addition, Six Flags also announced the sale of Wyandot Lake in Powell, Ohio to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is located next to the park. [ [http://www.dispatch.com/news-story.php?story=dispatch/2006/06/13/20060613-A1-01.html Zoo to keep Wyandot Lake afloat] ", Marla Matzer Rose. "Columbus Dispatch", June 13, 2006.] Ultimately, Six Flags Magic Mountain was spared, with the remaining six parks sold on January 11, 2007 to PARC Management for $312 million, $275 million cash and a note for $37 million. PARC 7F, of Jacksonville, Florida, is expected to sell the parks to CNL Income Properties Inc., a real-estate trust based in Florida, and then lease them back there was also other problems causing this affection.

Future Expansion

Six Flags and China signed a deal to allow new Six Flags Properties in China. On April 15th, it was announced it has entered into a one-year, multi-million dollar exclusivity agreement with Gulf Finance House B.S.C., a publicly traded Islamic Investment Bank in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Under the agreement, Gulf Finance will pay for the exclusive right to license the Six Flags brand and related intellectual property for theme park development in the People's Republic of China. Additionally, the two parties may collaborate on the future construction of a Six Flags-themed luxury resort. The deal was unveiled April 15th, 2008 by Six Flags President and CEO Mark Shapiro and Gulf Finance House Acting CEO Peter Panayiotou. "This partnership underscores the renewed health of our brand and the opportunities that now lie ahead for our unique thrill park experience," said Shapiro. "We're excited about the potential of collaborating with Gulf Finance House to bring the new Six Flags and its recharged product to an entirely new audience."

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS145150+15-Apr-2008+PRN20080415

Six Flags has also partnered with Brash Entertainment to create a video game called "Six Flags Fun Park." The video game allows a player to explore the themed areas and mini-games representative of a visit to a Six Flags park. In the game, players are tasked with quests that encourage them to explore the park's universe. After creating a unique custom character, Six Flags Fun Park patrons can win prizes, and compete with other players in 40 mini-games.

Although the video game is called Six Flags Fun Park, it lacks any major reference of Six Flags. This caused some to speculate that the video game was created then the rights to the name of the game were sold as a way to pay for the game's development.

Marketing efforts

Initially, Six Flags parks would prepare separate marketing campaigns for each park, sometimes with special themes (like the 25th anniversary of Six Flags Great America and the 35th anniversary of Six Flags Over Georgia in 2002). In 2004, Six Flags began a series of commercials linking all of the parks. The commercials were notable for a new mascot, "Mr. Six", an apparently feeble old man in a tuxedo and red bow tie. In many of the commercials, Mr. Six would slowly exit a multi-colored bus, only to start frenetically dancing to the Vengaboys' "We Like to Party." The commercials were an immediate hit and Mr. Six almost instantly became the official mascot, although he was retired after the 2005 season. In 2008, Six Flags' TV ads have a "Fun-O-Meter" in which the beginning of the ad may show something boring or embarrassing and a man's face judges it "One Flag!" or sometimes "Two Flags!" Then roller coasters and attractions of Six Flags are shown and says "Six Flags, More Flags, More Fun!" which is the current slogan of Six Flags parks. However, the thick accent of the Asian man in the commercials has drawn criticism for being an offensive caricature. [cite news| url=http://www.amny.com/business/am-sixflags0805,0,3827486.story | title='Six Flags' TV ads get thumbs down from some Asian Americans | publisher="AM New York" | last=Stride | first=Megan | date=2008-08-05 | accessdate=2008-08-05]

Six Flags has licensed its name and its theme park creations to other companies, who have used these assets to create licensed products. One such example is the theme park simulation game Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, which featured recreations of Six Flags parks that could be expanded and operated at the user's discretion.

In recent years, Six Flags has created strategic partnerships with other companies who would feature their products inside the parks. On March 30, 2006, Six Flags announced that it will sell no other pizza besides Papa John's at its parks. In turn, Six Flags will receive an annual sponsorship and promotional opportunities from Papa John's, though financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. Other recent partners have included Cold Stone Creamery, Johnny Rockets, Tyson Foods (chicken), Chrysler, and Nintendo, which added testing stations in several parks to show off its new Wii console. [ [http://www.n-sider.com/newsview.php?type=story&storyid=2600 N-Sider.com: Nintendo promotes Wii with Six Flags ] ]

To help direct marketing and advertising efforts, Six Flags uses information gathered through the Attendance Tracking System.Fact|date=September 2008 Marketing Team Members use a hand held device to record demographic information of guests entering the park.Fact|date=September 2008 They ask the guest's zip code, amount of visits to the park, and age.Fact|date=September 2008 This information helps direct advertising; For example, if a very low number of guests are visiting from a local city, Marketing employee's will know to put more advertising in that area for the next season.Fact|date=September 2008

Other assets

On June 19, 2007, Six Flags announced it has purchased 40% of Dick Clark Productions, which owns rights to "American Bandstand" and other shows and productions. [ [http://investors.sixflags.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=61629&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1016920&highlight= Six Flags - Investor Relations - Financial Release ] ]

Current properties

"These properties are listed in the order they joined their respective chain, either by construction or by acquisition."

USA

* California
** Six Flags Magic Mountain Valencia near Los Angeles
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
** Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Vallejo near San Francisco

* Georgia
** Six Flags Over Georgia (second park) Austell near Atlanta
** Six Flags White Water ((parcaquatique)) Marietta near Atlanta

* Illinois
** Six Flags Great America Gurnee, Chicago and Milwaukee
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

* Kentucky
** Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom Louisville
***Six Flags Splashwater Kingdom

* Maryland
** Six Flags America Largo near Washington, DC and Baltimore
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

* Massachusetts
** Six Flags New England Agawam near Springfield and Hartford
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

* Missouri
** Six Flags St. Louis Allenton near Eureka (formerly"Six Flags Over Mid-America")
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

* New Jersey
** Six Flags Great Adventure Jackson Township, New Jersey, between New York City and Philadelphia
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
***Six Flags Wild Safari

* New York
** The Great Escape & Splashwater Kingdom, Lake George in Queensbury
** Six Flags Splashwater Kingdom
** Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor waterpark

* Texas
** Six Flags Over Texas (the first Six Flags amusement park) in Arlington between Dallas and Fort Worth
***Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
** Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio

Mexico

* Six Flags Mexico Mexico

Canada

*Six Flags La Ronde à Montréal

Former properties

USA

* Six Flags Atlantis Hollywood Florida (sold in 1989; destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992)
* Six Flags Power Plant Baltimore Maryland (closed in 1989)
* Six Flags AutoWorld Flint Michigan (closed in 1985)
* Six Flags Worlds of Adventure Aurora in the Ohio (sold to Cedar Fair, LP in 2004)
* Six Flags New Orleans New Orleans (closed in 2005); destroyed by Hurricane Katrina)
* Six Flags Astroworld Houston Texas (closed in 2005 and razed in 2006)
* Six Flags Waterworld Sacramento California (arrivals at Cal Expo, but not renewed after 2006)
* Six Flags Wyandot Lake almost Columbus in the Ohio (sold end 2006)
* American Adventures Marietta near Atlanta (sold in 2007-2008)

* Parks sold in 2007 at PARC 7F
** Six Flags Waterworld Concord California
** Six Flags Darien Lake Darien near Buffalo in the State of New York
** Six Flags Elitch Gardens Denver Colorado
** Frontier City Oklahoma City in the Oklahoma
***White Water Bay (()) parcaquatique
** Six Flags Splashtown (()) parcaquatique in Harris County (Spring), almost Houston Texas).
** Enchanted Village Federal Way in the Washington

Europe

The 8 parks in Europe were sold in March 2004 to Palamon Capital Partners, to be renamed Star Parks, but proceed in the resale of six parks CDA Parks and a seventh to Time Warner.

* Parks redeemed by CDA Parks
** Six Flags Belgium Belgium (sold to Palamon then Grévin & Cie) Walibi Belgium renamed""
** Bellewaerde Ypres Belgium (sold to Palamon then Grévin & Cie)
** Walibi Aquitaine Agen, France (sold to Palamon then Grévin & Cie)
** Walibi Lorraine almost Metz, France (Palamon and then sold to the brothers Le Douarin)
** Walibi Rhone-Alpes almost Lyon, France (sold to Palamon then Grévin & Cie)
** Six Flags Holland Dronten Netherlands near d 'Amsterdam (sold to Palamon then Grévin & Cie) renamed"' Walibi World" '
* Warner Bros.. Movie World Germany Bottrop, Germany (sold to Palamon) renamedMovie Park Germany
* Warner Bros.. Movie World Madrid Madrid, Spain (sold to Time Warner) renamed Parque Warner Madrid

Accidents

References

External links

* [http://www.sixflags.com/index.asp Six Flags]


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