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Universal theme park revenue down 80% as pandemic continues

Former UCF professor says Central Florida theme parks are not done with layoffs

ORLANDO, Fla. – In a quarterly earnings call, the CEO of Comcast called Universal’s theme parks the “single biggest drag” of the quarter.

“While it will take some time for the parks to return to historical levels, we’ve made substantial progress,” CEO Brian Roberts said. “Universal Orlando and Osaka are operating at limited but growing attendance. While we don’t know when Hollywood might reopen, we remain very bullish on the parks long term. I am very excited for next year’s launch of our frankly incredible new theme park in Beijing.”

Comcast reported that Universal’s theme parks brought in $311 million during the third quarter, which runs from July through September. That’s a significant increase from the $87 million brought in from April through June of this year but still marks a significant drop off from the third quarter of 2019, which brought in $1.6 billion in revenue.

“So far, we’re rebounding fairly nicely in Japan and Florida where we’re open,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said.

Dr. Duncan Dickson, a retired professor at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, sees the upcoming hurdles for Universal Orlando.

“Even though they earned $300 million, they lost money on that,” Dickson explained. “Until the airlines, the cruise ships, until the conventions and other pieces of the puzzle start to come, we can’t get back to profitability.”

As Dickson told News 6, Disney, SeaWorld, and Universal could see more trouble during this recovery.

“None of the big three are done with the layoffs,” he said. “They’re adjusting, trying to figure it out, what can we live with, what can’t we live with.”

“We continue to see improvement and underlying trends and expect the theme park business to break even at some point in 2021, independent what occurs with Universal Studios Hollywood,” Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh said.


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