SeaWorld has been a fixture in San Diego for almost 50 years.
Later this month, the park will kick off an 18-month celebration of this anniversary, a promotional push that coincides with continued fallout from an explosive documentary that’s led to continued criticism of the SeaWorld’s history with its killer whales.
I’ve gotten quite a few emails from Voice of San Diego readers who say they won’t visit the park again after watching “Blackfish” but the movie’s impact on the company’s bottom line remains unclear.
To assess the potential implications for our region, it’s crucial to understand SeaWorld’s San Diego footprint. Here are some key numbers that put that in perspective.
That placed SeaWorld San Diego among the top 25 theme parks in the world. (It was the 22nd most visited attraction the report reviewed.) SeaWorld Orlando had about 914,000 more guests than San Diego’s marine park in 2012.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Does not Sea World also pay taxes to the City or County of San Diego in addition to the lease payment? I believe I once heard they are the largest City/County taxpayer, but I am not certain of this
SACRAMENTO — A state lawmaker has proposed legislation that would prohibit SeaWorld from using orcas in its San Diego shows, saying he is being driven to act by revelations in the disputed documentary “Blackfish.” http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/Mar/06/bill-would-ban-seaworld-orca-performances-a/?#article-copy.
Assy. Richard Bloom is working with Dr. Naomi Rose, who has proposed sanctuaries to retire marine animals from amusement parks.
Here's some more numbers worth study -- the increased mortality of captive orcas. "This new analysis determined that captive orca survivorship overall has grown worse in the past decade and a half. For animals who have entered captivity since 1993 (and thus have experienced only husbandry that has presumably improved since the Small and DeMaster study), survivorship has not changed25. In addition, captive-born animals, although they have survived better than
wild-caught animals through 2010, have not survived better than captive orcas overall did through 1992. Therefore the predicted improvement in survivorship has not in fact materialized, despite the increase in the proportion of captive-born animals making up the sample and despite supposedly continued improvement in husbandry techniques.
"The most parsimonious explanation for this failure to show improved survivorship, despite the effort by oceanaria to advance husbandry techniques in the past 45 years, is that orcas are inherently unsuited to confinement. No improvements or advances in training, nutrition, veterinary care, husbandry, or transport can “fix” this poor survivorship.
"The infant mortality rate in captivity (“infant” defined here as an animal six months of age or younger, including near- to full-term pregnancies where the calf does not survive birth [stillbirths]) is approximately 50%. Infant mortality rate in the wild is actually unknown, as newborn calves are usually not seen until they are approximately six months of age and calves who die earlier than this will not be observed, but it may be similar. Given the intense veterinary oversight during pregnancy and birth, it is notable that the captive infant mortality rate is so high."
@Martha Sullivan Martha Sullivan is a PAID activist. people should know this. She is paid quite well to pretend to care about this stuff. That's why her 'company' Apply Liberally LLC 'hosts' all these events. Her proile even admits she is a 'community organizer'. Have people not figured out the 'community organizer' sham yet? its a way to pay people to be 'grassroots'. Then you make th public tink there is legit out cry about something.
This Sea World stuff is about 1 thing REAL ESTATE! Martha wants Sea World GONE. This is just step one. Her efforts to shut down san onorfre..also step one I a big 'ol real estate deal. why do you thing Di Fi and Boxer were so aggressive about shutting it down.
Its time to start questioning these supposed activists. There are some legit ones, but these 'paid' grassroots' activists are ALL over SD infiltrating community groups. Yeah its easy to be 'active' in the community when you are being paid 6 figures.
Well, I guess it's a compliment that my volunteer work looks like it's paid 6 figures :). Don't know where you got this idea, Christine Mann. As I have replied to you elsewhere online, I am an open book. I have lived on my savings and small investments for the past 13 years, since moving here to help care for my mother in late stage of Parkinson's. For 6 years, this has been modestly augmented by sales of fine art and collectibles through my online store, www.ApplyLiberallyEnterprises.com. Had one paid gig in 2012, managing a voter registration project targeting radio stations in the Southwest. Sorry to disappoint, but my story is quite mundane.
The idea that anyone would try to shut down San Onofre in order to develop the land it sits on is ludicrous, as I have also pointed out to you elsewhere online. San Onofre will be a nuclear waste dump for the foreseeable future, and in any event, the U.S. Navy owns the land.
The land thatSeaWorld sits on was given to the City if San Diego by the State Harbor Commission in the early 1900s with the condition that it be used for public recreation. A for-profit amusement park isn't most people's idea of "public recreation", but the land certainly can't be developed for more commercial use or for housing. Those of us advocating for the humane retirement of highly intelligent, socially sophisticated marine animals from entertaining in a wholly unnatural setting aren't calling for SeaWorld to shut down -- we are asking it to evolve with our times.
Very nice Lisa. This reader appreciates this. Thanks
Added to the benefit to the region would be the secondary businesses that support Sea World operations would be an interesting figure. Not sure how one would derive that figure but would guess it would be in the millions of commerce.
BTW....Try not falling asleep reading the SEC filings though. They are good for that
The San Diego regional economy coud actually do BETTER without captive animal performers at SeaWorld. It is VERY telling that the amusement/entertainment parks that DON'T feature captive animal performers attract more visitors than SeaWorld: "Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park, both in Anaheim, and Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City all saw more visitors than either SeaWorld location in 2012, the report found." SeaWorld Entertainment would be much smarter to evolve its business model along with its customer base's growing commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation vs. exploitation. San Diego could be showcased as the first retirement sanctuary for SeaWorld marine animal performers, as envisioned by Dr. Naomi Rose: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/opinion/blackfish-captive-orcas-solutions/index.html.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently considering the release of captive orca Lolita from the Miami Seaquarium, since she is a member of the Southern Resident killer whale population designated Endangered Species in 2005. At 43, Lolita is the 2nd oldest orca surviving captivity after San Diego SeaWorld's Corky (44). Since the death of Hugo in 1980, Lolita has been living without the company of another orca -- truly torture for this very socially sophisticated species with lifelong family bonds. There is a retirement plan for her similar to the one proposed by Dr. Naomi Rose on CNN: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/behind-the-scenes-of-orca-lolitas-retirement-plan/.
The market will determine if Sea World adjusts their business model..... not Dr. Rose or the the activists opposed to the Orcas in captivity.
From my perspective Sea World is correct in countering the "blackfish" piece and should base their business Decisions on what is best for their company and shareholders.
@Mark Giffin @Martha Sullivan I agree, Mark -- and if SeaWorld has any business savvy, they'll notice that Disney and Universal Studios Hollywood attract more visitors WITHOUT featuring captive animal performers. I've been through this with the defective San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant -- its majority owner-operator, SoCal Edison, finally after 1.5 years of a non-operating plant, admitted that an old nuclear power plant isn't best for its future business model. SeaWorld can follow Edison's poor example and try to stave off the new reality. Or it can embrace the 21st Century and be a hero -- to its shareholders as well as its customer base.
@Jim Jones @Martha Sullivan But they don't define their brand, and they are not performing. I'm not thrilled about any captive wild animal species. But SeaWorld is captive wild animal species who must perform for their keep and have absolutely sterile, completely inadequate living space. It's all the worst of captivity on steroids.
@Jim Jones @Martha Sullivan WHEN did that amusement park fail? More than 50 years ago? Don't see how that is relevant NOW. Why does "it make more sense' to use captive performing wild animal species in conjunction with non-animal attractions?
Interesting that "the overarching goal of the institute [Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute] is to uncover solutions to deal with human activity that interferes or conflicts with marine animals". Does this scrutiny apply to their own funder's interference with marine animals/mammals?
According to SeaWorld Entertainment's prospectus for its IPO last year, San Diego brings in about 20% of the total corporate revenue. So in 2013, San Diego SeaWorld generated about $280 Million for its parent. The $14 million Lisa reports here that San Diego SeaWorld paid for its profit off City land and water last year is 5% of those profits. SeaWorld pays no property tax, since it doesn't own the land, and it bragged in its IPO prospectus that it won't pay income taxes for several years. Sales taxes are paid by consumers and passed on by SeaWorld. So basically, the annual lease payment to the City constitutes the sum of the contribution to maintaining our local infrastructure made by this corporation making record profits using prime waterfront, publicly owned lands and waters. WooHoo!
How much annual revenue do the 2 hotels cited in this article generate?
@Martha Sullivan SeaWorld is the 10th largest property taxpayer in the City of San Diego. Their property tax bill is a little more than $5,000,000.
@Brant Will @Martha SullivanThat's not real property tax, Brant. But a tax on equipment and the like. So you're right -- they paid about $19 million in taxes in 2013 -- still only about 6.8% of revenue. Not much for a $280 Million enterprise which is predicated on the use of prime, publicly-owned land and water. Not to mention the money spent by the Tourism & Marketing District to promote it (on the order of $2 Million), and the infrastructure which serves it (roads, freeways).
@Martha Sullivan No, that's property tax. It has nothing to do with revenues, equipment or anything other than the assessed value of SeaWorld San Diego, which is $436,958,000 for 2014. You can find the 2013 data on page 287 of the City's CAFR: http://www.sandiego.gov/comptroller/pdf/reports/cafr_2013.pdf
It's okay to be wrong but you should be willing to admit when you've made an error with regard to fact.
In its own words -- $10 million in 10 years, after $1.4 Billion revenue in 2013! Less than 0.001. What a conservation HERO! "Orlando, Fla. (September 2013) - Wild animals in need from around the world - from Antarctic penguins to sea turtle hatchlings on Florida's beaches - will benefit from more than $1.2 million in grants awarded this year by the non-profit SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. Ninety-three wildlife research, habitat protection, animal rescue, and conservation education projects will benefit from the awards.
These grants will support researchers who are studying migration movements of Antarctic penguin species, provide safer passage for turtle hatchlings making their way from the nest to the water, and help monitor the long-term health of dolphins in one of Florida's vital eco-systems.
Since its inception 10 years ago, the Fund has granted more than $10 million in grants to protect wildlife and wild places."
Thanks for the hard data, Lisa, and for continuing this series. It is VERY telling that the amusement/entertainment parks that DON'T feature captive animal performers attract more visitors than SeaWorld: "Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park, both in Anaheim, and Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City all saw more visitors than either SeaWorld location in 2012, the report found." SeaWorld Entertainment would be much smarter to evolve its business model along with its customer base's growing commitment to wildlife and habitat conservation vs. exploitation. San Diego could be showcased as the first retirement sanctuary for SeaWorld marine animal performers, as envisioned by Dr. Naomi Rose: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/opinion/blackfish-captive-orcas-solutions/index.html.
@earthysara No, no. He was allowed in as a member of the media. No money spent :)