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Six Flags Corporate Discussion Thread


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Well this is probably the best path for Six Flags to follow.

 

This will allow Shapiro to rebuild Six Flags from the ground up. Get rid of the underperforming parks, and restructure the company for the future.

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I just saw this on CNN, I read something earlier this year saying that they may file for chapter 11 this year but not in June, they said like mid August or in the fall. Oh well it is a shame but Im pretty sure they will get through it.

 

--Chris

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Can't blame old management anymore if you restructure their bad debt.

 

And this is where you are spot on. If all this progress is a result of their moves financially, then well see them only start to produce more and more profit and regain what was lost.

 

If its all a bunch of smoke and mirrors...itll show itself pretty quick.

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The most challenging part of this will be convincing the public that the parks are still open. Plenty of people will read the headlines, "Six Flags Files For Bankruptcy", but not read far enough into an article to see that the operations will continue as usual. We've heard the stories for years now about people that think Magic Mountain was sold and closed, when in fact it was operating. News like this can't help.

 

Has anyone noticed the flurry of commercials that GM is running to assure their customers that the company is still actually in business? <-- Take note Six Flags.

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The most challenging part of this will be convincing the public that the parks are still open. Plenty of people will read the headlines, "Six Flags Files For Bankruptcy", but not read far enough into an article to see that the operations will continue as usual. We've heard the stories for years now about people that think Magic Mountain was sold and closed, when in fact it was operating. News like this can't help.

 

Has anyone noticed the flurry of commercials that GM is running to assure their customers that the company is still actually in business? <-- Take note Six Flags.

I left the apartment for a grand total of 10 minutes today and heard people on the side walk talking about how SF Great America is closed for good. For reference I live about 15 minutes from the park.

 

on the move itself, it's about time. It should not hurt their image too much. They already did an e-mail campaign about them staying open (weird part was I got 4 e-mails and 2 were SFOT.) Hopefully this ends well for them and many years of success.

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Has anyone noticed the flurry of commercials that GM is running to assure their customers that the company is still actually in business? <-- Take note Six Flags.

 

Yes I have, and that's a great point!!

 

As much as I don't care for "Mr. Six", I think he'd better start dancing up a storm, and quick!!

 

 

JJ

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Has anyone noticed the flurry of commercials that GM is running to assure their customers that the company is still actually in business? <-- Take note Six Flags.

 

The difference is, that people go to Six Flags parks, where-as no one buys GM's cars .

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If its all a bunch of smoke and mirrors...itll show itself pretty quick.

 

I thought I was the only one suspicious of Six Flags numbers. Touting non GAAP accounting practices (EBITDA and their calculation of free cash flow) as their big wins should raise some raise some red flags.

 

 

I guess only time will tell.

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The most challenging part of this will be convincing the public that the parks are still open. Plenty of people will read the headlines, "Six Flags Files For Bankruptcy", but not read far enough into an article to see that the operations will continue as usual. We've heard the stories for years now about people that think Magic Mountain was sold and closed, when in fact it was operating. News like this can't help.

 

Has anyone noticed the flurry of commercials that GM is running to assure their customers that the company is still actually in business? <-- Take note Six Flags.

 

...And thus, SFMM will be building another headline grabbing coaster in 2010. Now this strategy makes perfect sense.

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Six Flags isn't going out of business, Six Flags is getting down to business.

 

That's really good. Lame, but still really good.

 

Honestly, they should use that.

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I'm not sold on the chain being turned around. The mantra has simply been "we're doing great...everything is the old managements fault!" There are definitely more bright spots than before, but everytime something is still bad, it's always "it takes time...turnaround...blah blah blah." There's never any blame placed on the current management.

I agree with this statement 100%

 

The three parks that come to my mind most are SFMM, SFNE, and SFGADV. Ive been to NE and GADV before the new management and after. While yes the operations are much improved thats only because they were embarrisngly terrible before. I go to SFMM quite often and get the same vibe. While yes these parks are ran OK now they still have their issues: SFMMs bathrooms are like a trench fortress in Baghdad, SFGADVs queue lines are beat the hell and need to be painted bad, etc. Even though SFMM's operations are much better now and the park looks much better with so many rides painted, for the most part the lines still move pretty slow and the parks are still understaffed (when do you ever see Tatsu running both sides even when its really busy). Hell, at SFGAm the entire back half of the park opens an hour after the rest of the park and there are a few SBNO rides whereas before the new management all the rides opened at park opening and there werent any SBNO rides.

 

While yes some of the parks are ran much better and look much better, walking through SF parks just looking around you can still get a "this park was much better in its heydey" vibe. That and advertisements plastered everywhere with commercials on all the TV's like you are at a supermarket checkout counter, they certainly do benefit a lot from "BOTD" around here.

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^^The $275 million was actually their EBITDA. That's not profit.

 

Considering the last mangement wasn't even making money, and spending money they didn't have, I'd say it's a step up.

 

It's day three, I think we can all stop the SF is lying talk. As with everything else you have to give it time. And stop pointing fingers at a management plan thats at least trying to fix the issue. That's more than what we can all say about the last management, which got them into this problem in the first place.

 

Matt "Tired of the same Six Flags haters in here" Jacobs

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I thought I was the only one suspicious of Six Flags numbers. Touting non GAAP accounting practices (EBITDA and their calculation of free cash flow) as their big wins should raise some raise some red flags.

but SFI has been using EBITDA for YEARS, its not like its something they just started to work with to cover up their faults.. not saying it makes it any more legit though

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^My point exactly. The old management was proud of their positive EBITDA too.

 

^^The $275 million was actually their EBITDA. That's not profit.

 

Considering the last mangement wasn't even making money, and spending money they didn't have, I'd say it's a step up.

 

It's day three, I think we can all stop the SF is lying talk. As with everything else you have to give it time. And stop pointing fingers at a management plan thats at least trying to fix the issue. That's more than what we can all say about the last management, which got them into this problem in the first place.

 

Matt "Tired of the same Six Flags haters in here" Jacobs

 

You'll have to forgive me for being skeptical of a company whose leader blatantly misled employees with the "we made $275 million..." statement in his open letter.

 

Furthermore, I suggest you do some research on how EBITDA and Free Cash Flow can be manipulated. How they depreciate the value on everything and how they decide what is a maintenance capital expenditure play a huge role in those calculations. Hell, even all the costs of a new ride can be moved all over the balance sheet to make things seem better.

 

None of this is illegal or anything, but there is a reason they are both not part of GAAP.

 

The only thing that matters is Six Flags is still losing a lot of money. Getting rid of that debt will help a lot...so now we will be able to see what the new management can do, since ridding themselves of the obligations/interest payments will potentially clean up the numbers that really matter like net income and other GAAP metrics.

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Thanks for all the info in this thread.

 

I think they will come out of the bankruptcy in much better shape than before. I always wondered why they didn't declare before they started selling off parks in the prior management. I will definately hope for the best for the chain.

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Not playing Devil's Advocate here, but what's the absolute worse thing that could happen to some of Six Flags' premiere parks like GA or MM?

 

Why would they sell two of their profitable parks?

 

Filing for Chapter 11 allows a corporation to restructure their debts in order to make them more managable. Shapiro is taking the right steps. He's inherited a total mess from the previous management, and this had to be done. Chapter 11 is nothing new, corporations have done it before and come out stronger. It has to do with strong leadership, which I believe SF has, as witnessed by the positive changes over the past few years.

 

I'm not saying they would liquidate their parks.

 

I'm saying what's the absolute worse that could possibly happen to their assets. Evidently, if chapter 11 were not to be a successful, and they still had to deal with debt and ultimately filed for chapter 7 they'd have to liquidate their assets, and that would include those two parks and the others.

 

Chapter ll is nothing new; but I don't have a good impression of it at the moment. Certainly I expect Six Flags to emerge stronger, but I still have the impression of Circuit city who also filed for chapter 11, still had to fulfill some debt obligations (as determined by the bankruptcy court) and went out of business shortly after. Chapter 11 is a great alternative, but it does not guarantee that they'll get this debt off their backs.

 

The same reality is a possibility, though minuscule for Six Flags. I never said that Six Flags is selling those two parks, or need to. I meant what's the worst that can happen as in, if they don't emerge strong...then that would probably be liquidating their assets, including those two parks.

 

I agree with you in that I like the new management of Six Flags and wouldn't want them to fall out of the game. I want them to emerge stronger.

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I agree with you in that I like the new management of Six Flags and wouldn't want them to fall out of the game. I want them to emerge stronger.

 

You know, this is an interesting point. Everyone knows I'm in the Six Flags Hater camp--but, honestly, I wouldn't want any of the parks to go away. What I would like to see--and this isn't just Six Flags--is more parks going back to being independent (or at least smaller chains).

 

That's probably not realistic. But, still, is there anything inherently good about "Six Flags" that you would miss if all the parks magically got sold to different individuals?

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I agree with you in that I like the new management of Six Flags and wouldn't want them to fall out of the game. I want them to emerge stronger.

 

You know, this is an interesting point. Everyone knows I'm in the Six Flags Hater camp--but, honestly, I wouldn't want any of the parks to go away. What I would like to see--and this isn't just Six Flags--is more parks going back to being independent (or at least smaller chains).

 

That's probably not realistic. But, still, is there anything inherently good about "Six Flags" that you would miss if all the parks magically got sold to different individuals?

 

You're right, that's definitely not realistic.

 

In recent years, the general trend in the amusement industry has been consolidation (take Kennywood Entertainment's merger with Parques Reunidos, for instance). That's not likely to change anytime soon.

 

It's a shame that SF had to file for chapter 11, but honestly, most of us saw this one coming years ago. What is amazing is how long they managed to put it off.

 

On a more positive note, I went to Lakemont Park today and am currently staying in a Sleep Inn in State College.

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You'll have to forgive me for being skeptical of a company whose leader blatantly misled employees with the "we made $275 million..." statement in his open letter.

 

Which any otehr leader would do too. He has to throw some sunshine up everyone's a$$es, otherwise they'd have even more issues of people ditching left and right. Not that it won't happen, but you can't go promoting doom and gloom, it won't get you anywhere.

 

I'm just getting tired of seeing the SF hating from the same people over and over. I don't care fro USH, but I'm not bashing them to know end every chance I get. You obviously didn't have a good experience at SF. Let it go.

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I wouldn't call Joey a SF hater just for being skeptical of a company who files for Ch. 11... how often does it turn into Ch 7 for these companies?

 

Honestly I don't think a mass exodus would be a huge concern for the company if they were brutally honest with their employees. Maybe at the top a little, but the hourly employees in the parks (who make up most of the company's workforce) wouldn't be moved by it as much, especially with the higher demand these jobs have in this economy.

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