This morning, Comcast released their First Quarter 2020 Results and held their earnings call, and it held some interesting insights into how much the theme parks have been affected by the closure. Theme Park revenue declined 32% in the 1st quarter to $869 million with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) declining 85% to $76 million. Comcast is attributing this decline due to lingering softness in Japan prior to COVID-19. The decline in revenue and EBITDA was then further aggravated by the closing of Universal Studios Japan on February 29, Universal Studios Hollywood on March 14, and Universal Orlando Resort on March 16 due to COVID-19.
Comcast also reported in the call, to show the impact of closures, that if the Universal theme parks would remain closed through the 2nd quarter of 2020, they would expect to take a $500 million loss in EBITDA in the quarter.
The theme parks team is “balancing near term financial discipline with maximizing the long term value of the business,” which is a dynamic effort as the situation continues to develop. Comcast does remain very confident in the theme parks to generate healthy returns over the long term. Still, Comcast has decided to pause construction of Orlando’s fourth gate, Epic Universe, at its early stage while they focus on immediate challenges that COVID-19 presents. The final stages of construction will still continue on in full force for Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan, which is expected to open later this year, and Universal Beijing remains on schedule to open in 2021.
During the earnings call, it was reinforced that Universal still has all of their theme parks closed and they do not know when they will reopen.
More information on the Comcast Earnings Call can be found here.