Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul claimed parks have become 'cheap day care center for teenagers' amid declining stocks and attendance

Six Flags CEO says parks became ‘cheap day care’ amid plummeting stocks and drops in attendance

Six Flags sheds nearly two million customers in the last year and shares tumble 18% as park overhauls target market and stocks plummet: CEO sounds OFF, saying, ‘We became a cheap day care center for teenagers’

  • Six Flags, the world’s largest theme park operator, saw a 22% decline in attendance year-over-year
  • This week, the company’s stocks dropped nearly 20% in response to the drop in parkgoers and the company’s aggressive plan toward higher-end clientele
  • CEO Selim Bassoul says too many discounts led to ‘a cheap day care center for teenagers during breaks and the summer’

A shocking year at Six Flags ends in the loss of nearly two million customers and a collapse in stock value.

The world’s largest theme park operator reported the loss in attendance following the implementation of an initiative to lessen the presence of ‘rowdy teenagers’ in their parks, according to the company’s CEO Selim Bassoul. 

Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul claimed parks have become ‘cheap day care center for teenagers’ amid declining stocks and attendance

The Texas-based theme park’s shares tumbled 18% to $21.12 Thursday after it disclosed attendance at its 27 parks was down 22% from this time last year, which is wildly different when compared to Disney’s reported 70% rise in park attendance year-over-year.

Bassoul, who was named CEO in 2021, blamed the drop partly on price hikes for admission in response to dishing out too many discounts last year.

‘So, we only got the discounter or we became a day care center for teenagers,’ and ‘it was a cheap day care center for teenagers,’ he said.

The Texas-based theme park¿s shares tumbled 18% to $21.12 Thursday after it disclosed attendance at its 27 parks was down 22% from this time last year.

The Texas-based theme park’s shares tumbled 18% to $21.12 Thursday after it disclosed attendance at its 27 parks was down 22% from this time last year.

Six Flags employs more than 52,000 seasonal employees and 2,100 full-time at their 27 parks across the US

Six Flags employs more than 52,000 seasonal employees and 2,100 full-time at their 30 parks across North America

Bassoul’s ‘rowdy’ comments are not completely unfounded, as the teens  occasionally turned violent while at the amusement park.

Last month, a teen was arrested for aggravated assault of a police officer at Great Adventure in Jackson Township, NJ, when he pushed a cop who had been called to the park because of reported fights.

In 2021, Six Flags in Prince George’s County, Md., saw several fights break out in the parking lot during a park festival. 

And in 2017, at the Six Flags in Gurnee, Ill., police were called to the park after teenagers ‘sucker punched’ a 12-year-old when the boy’s mother asked them to tone down their swearing. 

The teens then attacked the boy’s parents, punching and kicking them, according to reports.

A fight that broke out at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey in 2020.

A fight that broke out at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey in 2020.

A massive brawl at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA during 2021's Fright Fest.

A massive brawl at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA during 2021’s Fright Fest.

In response, Bassoul and Six Flags are continuing to increase ticket prices to focus on ‘elevating the guest experience.’

The company expects attendance to be down by between 20% and 25% this year. 

Even with the decline in attendance, the company is reporting an increase in total guest spending up $11.93 to $63.87 per guest.

‘We want to be a park for the middle class and even the lower middle class,’ he said.

‘We believe our demographic is the average income of the US and I’m migrating a little bit from what I call the Kmart, Walmart [customer] to maybe the target customers, if I want to say that.’

Fun facts about the world’s largest theme park owner

Visitors to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio go for a ride on one of the world's tallest pendulum rides (more than 17-stories high), the JOKER: Carnival of Chaos.

Visitors to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio go for a ride on one of the world’s tallest pendulum rides (more than 17-stories high), the JOKER: Carnival of Chaos.

  • Established in 1961
  • Employs more than 52,000 seasonal employees between May and September and 2,100 full-time
  • Operates 27 parks in the United States, two in Mexico and one in Montreal, Canada
  • More than 925 rides and 145 roller coasters
  •  33 million guests (2019)
  • $1.5 billion of revenue reported in 2019

Source: Six Flags 

Six Flags is also looking to improve wait times at its parks, which can add up from up to 30 minutes to park, up to 30 minutes to clear security, 15 to 25 minutes to use the restrooms and one to two hours to get food and get on a ride, Bassoul said.

During the past year, the company said it has lost about two million season ticket holders who did not renew their membership.

As a result, total revenue for the quarter decreased by 5% to $24 million, fueled by the the lower attendance and $5 million reduction in sponsorship revenues.

A Six Flags spokesperson tells mailonline.com they have no comment on the report.

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