Monday, January 06, 2003

Six Flags Targets Crack Cocaine Market

Word has it that Six Flags Inc. is negotiating a deal with S&S Power of Logan Utah to supply the chain with 14 of their 4-D coasters for the '04 park season, with Gary Story been meeting all week with Stan Checketts. Initial reports are that the theme park giant is interested in signing this blockbuster deal as soon as possible in an effort to prevent other chains from acquiring this one-of-a-kind coaster. While the term "exclusivity" has been used in the industry before, it appears that SFI is willing to purchase every 4-D coaster that can be manufactured in the meantime to keep this new ride to themselves.

Lines for the prototype 4-D coaster named X at Six Flags Magic Mountain have been consistenly ranging from 2-4 hours ever since the ride's initial public opening early in 2002. Del Holland has even mentioned in board meeting that visitors to the park now spend more time in line at SFMM than at any other theme park, increasing sales of the new Fastlane by 100%. While the capital expenditure might be a concern for some investors, SFI is looking at the long-range picture.

Story was heard to comment: "Thrillseekers in the US and around the globe will soon have the chance to Xperience the Xtreme. Once they get a taste of this coaster, they'll sell their kids for just one more ride. THEN we'll reap some serious profits. X is more addictive than crack, and studies show that while many markets have already been saturated with crack, they lack even a single 4-D coaster to ride."

In confidential documents acquired by ARN&R, Six Flags marketing executives laid out their plans to give first-time riders a free or greatly discounted "sample ride," and to have park employees formerly dressed in Warner Brothers cartoon character costumes instead fanning out across cities selling 4-D coaster admission tickets on street corners. Park security will be expanded roughly 700% to handle what Six Flags documents refer to euphemistically as "collection, past-due X accounts."