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Six Flags CEO laments parks have turned into ‘a cheap daycare center for teenagers’

Six Flags CEO Selim Bassoul expressed his disappointment over recent customers during a lackluster earnings call.

Last week, Bassoul said prices should increase instead of allowing the parks to turn into “a cheap daycare center for teenagers during breaks and the summers.” Year-to-date park attendance dropped by about 35% compared to 2018-2019, according to the call.

“I think many of our customers, even if you kept the pricing the same as last year, their disposable income has been hit pretty hard,” Bassoul said. “They suffered with gasoline prices. They suffered with their utilities at home. They suffered with their pricing at the supermarket. Those people were not able to come.”


“And hopefully, when inflation comes back to normal, I’m hoping that some of those people come back to our parks and enjoy the new premiumization and beautification,” he said.

Bassoul went on to discuss how the park could attract a different kind of customer, from “what I call the Kmart, Walmart, to maybe the Target customer.” In other words, he meant “middle-income” customers.

“Our objective is not to become a park that’s not affordable to everyone,” the CEO said. Bassoul was named the CEO in November 2021.

Two visitors dance as they walk underneath a “Welcome Back” sign at Six Flags Magic Mountain on its first day of reopening in 2021 to members and pass holders in Valencia, California.

(Jae C. Hong/AP)

America’s median household income was $67,521 in 2020, the last year the information was available, a decrease of 2.9% from the 2019 median, according to the Census Bureau.

Theme park outings are already increasingly out of reach for families, having “increased in cost at 2-3x the rate of inflation,” according to a report from the Hustle.

“American families have to work up to [twice] as many hours as they did 60 years ago,” it read.


It is unclear when a price increase could occur, but Bassoul promised to reach his desired earnings within the next three years.

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