SeaWorld has had another tough year. In their second quarter financial results for 2015, released Thursday, the company admitted to declines in attendance, sales, and profits since the investigative reporting of journalist Tim Zimmerman and 2013 film Blackfish that claimed it mistreated captive orca whales.
The numbers show that SeaWorld has experienced an 84 percent drop in net second-quarter income, from $37.4 million in 2014 to $5.8 million in 2015. Additionally, the park hosted 100,000 fewer visitors than it did at the same time in 2014, a 2 percent decrease.
Less than a year ago, shareholders sued SeaWorld, charging that the company misled shareholders over the effect that the Blackfish documentary had on park attendance. Back then, SeaWorld officials blamed the weather and the timing of the Easter holiday on the drop in attendance rather than acknowledging that the negative publicity surrounding Blackfish was affecting sales.
Following the lawsuit, SeaWorld also announced plans to build larger environments for its marine mammals and released plans for a $10 million funding grant to aid research and conservation projects. The company also launched a national ad campaign featuring conservationist values and offered park discounts.
"We realize we have much work ahead of us to recover more of our attendance base, increase revenue and improve our performance," SeaWorld President and CEO Joel Manby said in the second quarter statement, "as returning to historical performance levels will take time and investment.”
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