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Universal Marching Into Smaller Amusement Park Markets

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Universal has discussed plans to open separate gate amusements such as year round Halloween Haunts, such as in Las Vegas, smaller children's themed parks such as recently announced in Texas, and a host of other opportunities both domestically and internationally. 

This represents a stolen opportunity which was open to operators such as Cedar Fair which has been quite reluctant to open or acquire second gates near parks and resorts they currently operate.  An excellent example of FUN failing to extend the brand and operational know-how of attractions management is abundantly clear in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Cedar Fair has overlooked the opportunity of operating the NASCAR Museum in tandem with its Carowinds Park.  Such a bolt-on exhibit opportunity would tie into NASCAR theming at Carowinds and extend marketing dollars by allowing for combination ticket sales at little to no additional expense. 

Ripley's Entertainment as well as Merlin Entertainment has grabbed the opportunity to operate second gates adjacent to popular destinations thus lowering marketing spends and capturing audience and revenues from competing operators both big and small.  The move by Universal will capitalize on the markets FUN and others have created.  This is, of course, a disappointment to investors who see the opportunity costs of failing to expand the brands to fully capture the revenues available adjacent to big draws such as theme parks.  


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