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US amusement parks market dominated by Walt Disney, Six Flags and Cedar Fair

Industry Sector



8 January 2013


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The US amusement parks industry includes approximately 3,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of around $15 billion.

Over the coming years, growth within the market will be primarily driven by increased consumer per capita spending on entertainment and leisure platforms, growing base of middle class households, increasing disposable incomes, and the growing popularity of mass entertainment.

Theme parks are outdoor locations, which offer specialised amusement along a preconceived theme. Traditional theme parks comprise various themed lands containing rides (roller coasters, etc), games, concerts and themed events originating from specific subjects such as countries, myths, fairy tales and movies, among others.

Amusement parks get about 55% of their revenue from admissions and about 30% from food and merchandise sales. The remainder is made from a mix of parking fees, commission income from third-party exhibitors, advertising, and fees for hosting parties and other events. Many parks operate only for a portion of the year because of weather.US amusement park

Half of amusement parks, including 70% of water parks, are closed during the cold months. Parks open year-round may also operate hotels, stores, condos, golf courses, or other facilities in the vicinity.

The industry faced a tumultuous season in the midst of the recession, with reduced travel rates translating to falling visitors. Revenue is expected to improve through 2016, however, as companies seek to lure more consumers with new attractions.

Also, the improved economy is projected to help raise consumer confidence, causing demand for entertainment to rise substantially.

The US amusement parks industry has a high level of concentration - with the largest players, Walt Disney, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, SeaWorld, and Universal Parks & Resorts, expected to account for approximately 81.5% of total industry revenue in 2012¬- which can be a significant barrier to entry for new major players.

For more information on the US amusement parks market, see the latest research: US Amusement Parks Market

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