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Kings Island up for sale

Paramount's owner, CBS Corp., puts division on market

By Timothy R. Gaffney

Dayton Daily News

Saturday, January 28, 2006

DAYTON  Kings Island, a popular Miami Valley destination that drew 3.3 million people last year, is up for sale along with four other amusement parks owned by CBS Corp.

CBS decided Thursday to put its Paramount Parks Division on the market after determining the parks no longer fit its business, which includes a television network, TV and radio stations and a publishing business. The sale has already generated interest among potential buyers, according to CBS.

Kings Island

CBS said the parks will remain in full operation throughout the sale. Kings Island is slated to open April 14.

Key points about Kings Island and the amusement park industry:

• Attendance at the Warren County park was down 5.1 percent last year.

• Even with the attendance drop, King's Island ranked second among the five Paramount parks in visitors.

• In North America, Kings Island ranked 16th last year in attendance among the top 50 amusement parks, according to James Zoltak, editor of Amusement Business magazine.

Kings Island was put up for sale along with Paramount Canada's Wonderland in Toronto, which last year drew 3.7 million visitors; Paramount's Kings Dominion in Richmond, Va., which drew 2.22 million; Paramount's Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C., which drew 2.13 million; and Paramount's Great America, in Santa Clara, Calif., which drew 2.07 million.

Zoltak said amusement parks typically adapt themes from popular TV, film or other intellectual properties. Tomb Raider and Top Gun are two Paramount films that have become thrill-ride themes in its parks. "The highest (profit) margin business is the intellectual property business," he said. "I think there's a trend of (companies) still being involved in parks, but on a licensing basis," Zoltak said.

CBS did not disclose a sale price for the parks.

America has about 600 amusement parks, and overall attendance has increased almost every year in recent history, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

Source: http://www.daytondailynews.com/localnews/c...ingsisland.html

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Well, it says that the highest profit margin is in the intellectual rights for the tv and movie themes. This most likely translates to the fact that CBS feels they can sell the parks to another company and not have to worry about running them, but maintain cashflow from the parks in the form of licensing agreements.

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This by far was the worst decision that CBS could have made. To me, it sounds like they are just trying to get ride of the parks so they dont have to worry about them, bla bla bla. I just hope that if the park does get sold, it wont go down hill like Americania (spelling?) or Six Flags.

BTW, if you can't tell by my tone, I am serverly ticked off by this decision!! censored.gif

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Y? this is the best news we could ask for! I mean darn everyone is so excited about NU well how many of the rides in NU can we ride???? Not that many! So whats the point of being excited about just yet anaother kiddie addition? what its only been 4 years! OMG! Hopefully we will get some rides that we can ride and enjoy!

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I for one don't understand this myself. But if you remember when the parks were bought out by Paramount in 1992 Viacom had nothing to do with Paramount at the time. Wasn't Viacom thinking about selling too before the Viacom spilt? I think what will happen is the parks will just have new owners but nothing will really change. It will probably be still known as Paramount Parks, just with a different company running the actual parks. But only time will tell what is going to happen next.

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To those who think this sale will make no difference, OWNERS make decisions about whether or not and what rides, food, shows, etc., go in, who is to be marketed to, what the prices will be, what the hours will be, how much employees will be paid, what parks will be kept and which ones will be sold, whether or not there will be special events such as Winter Fest, Fear Fest, ACE events, Beast Buzz, etc, and right down to what merchandise will or will not be sold...

OWNERS also decide who will manage the parks, who will market them, what advertising and marketing will be done, how much money will be spent or not spent on landscaping, litter cleanup, lighting, concrete, ride maintenance and on and on and on...

How can ANYONE think it makes no difference who owns the parks?

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See, I've been all kinds of excited about the possiblities that this sale hold.

Just think! We may get entertainment back in the park! Shows in all the theaters! We might actually have concerts at all the ampatheaters again! We may actually do themeing again in all the areas! We may actually get rides that are not themed after movies that will be forgotten in a few years!

It's such a plus plus for all involved!

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To those who think this sale will make no difference, OWNERS make decisions about whether or not and what rides, food, shows, etc., go in, who is to be marketed to, what the prices will be, what the hours will be, how much employees will be paid, what parks will be kept and which ones will be sold, whether or not there will be special events such as Winter Fest, Fear Fest, ACE events, Beast Buzz, etc, and right down to what merchandise will or will not be sold...

OWNERS also decide who will manage the parks, who will market them, what advertising and marketing will be done, how much money will be spent or not spent on landscaping, litter cleanup, lighting, concrete, ride maintenance and on and on and on...

How can ANYONE think it makes no difference who owns the parks?

Yea new owners make a difference. They can and may send the parks right down the tube as well. So I am not sure everyone should be jumping for joy just yet. It could be a very gloomy future.

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I wonder if the Hanna-Barberra flim is a big clue who the new owners could be? blink.gif What other parks have Hanna-Barberra and Nick Toons in the same place I can think of three.

Edited by Vortex
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See, I've been all kinds of excited about the possiblities that this sale hold.

Just think! We may get entertainment back in the park! Shows in all the theaters! We might actually have concerts at all the ampatheaters again! We may actually do themeing again in all the areas! We may actually get rides that are not themed after movies that will be forgotten in a few years!

It's such a plus plus for all involved!

Your right. But you can also go the other way around. What if they take away all the shows? What if they remove all the themeing? What if they do nothing and the park falls apart, like some of the six flags parks? I dont have a good feeling about this sale and wish it wouldn't happen.

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It's just too early to tell. In some ways Paramount has been very good for the parks, but I doubt anyone would argue that the entertainment, food, landscaping and overall cleanliness of the parks didn't go downhill after KECO was no longer running the park....

I have seen FAR better entertainment in at least a couple of Six Flags parks in the last two years than at Paramount's Kings Island. Don't think that all Six Flags parks had entertainment like that put on by Kentucky Kingdom or even Six Flags Ohio...

Fiesta Texas, Great Adventure and Six Flags Over Texas, in particular had great shows....The Temple of the Tiger at Great Adventure was a Broadway quality show.

Under KECO, Kings Island had superb dining, entertainment (from Broadway quality productions to ice shows) and the park was beautifully maintained.

What happens next is anyone's guess at this point.

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Seriously, and I think that I mentioned this last fall that you should look for Executives leaving as a clue to if a business is or is not going to sell. I'd be a good bet that knew that Jeff knew this when he started his job search.

As far as Intercepter's comments, thank you. It's what I have preached for some time now as far as the fact that the parks were very much the "******* Children" of Paramount. I never truly believed that they were concerned with the well being and well running of the parks as they were at getting some side advertising.

In turn, I would not want a Warner Brothers or a Universal to come in as we would just be trading one not so great situation for another. It would need to be an organization that were formed such as a Cedar Fair. Who knows what is in the works, could Dolly have put together a group interested in running more parks? Could Gaylord have decided that they want to delve into parks again? I think that Six Flags has it's hands full with getting their chain under control and would not want to take on this challenge. It could be United Features that is doing this as they will no longer have Snoopy at Mall of America. It could be Turner Broadcasting/Time Warner looking to buy in. The options are actually limitless if you think about it.

I know that for many that have seen Kings Island, Wonderland, Kings Dominion and Carrowinds only under the Paramount moniker that this all may be surprising and shocking. But ya know, I've lived it before. As many of ya know, I was an employee when everything happened with Paramount. I can tell ya, there are going to be a lot of folk that are upset, feel slighted and feel displaced. There will be many in upper management that will be moving on to other things. It's just the nature of The Beast.

But all in all, the parks will go on. They will continue to prosper and to grow. Some things will change and some things will stay the same - but ultimately it's not as if any of the parks are likely to close.

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