Hard Rock Park for Sale, Several Companies Interested According to MytleBeachOnline, Hard Rock Park is up for sale in hopes of finding a new owner. In addition, ScreamScape recently reported that there are: "no less than three other qualified operators are taking a serious look at buying Hard Rock Park." Even with all of the venom on the 'Net for this park and experts out there with their "I told you so's" I still think Hard Rock Park was a strong theme park for its first year in existence. Though it was on a much smaller scale than a Disney or Universal park, it was full of some really cool and unique ideas. Many people were expecting WAY too much. People forget that theme parks don't spring up overnight with as many rides and roller coasters as parks that have been around for years. I do fault the park for the high ($50) ticket price, especially with the state of the economy. I wonder how it would have done with a free entry/pay per ride type of system like a Knoebels. Hard Rock Park's managment just may not have planned well for the economic downturn with people staying in Myrlte Beach shorter than usual. Maybe they could have changed their strategy drastically during the summer to bring in more people and cut costs, but it might have been too late. I wonder if the park would have met the same fate in a better economic climate. Maybe they would've lost some money, but not had to close. What's Next for Hard Rock Park?For now we can speculate as to who may buy the park. The interesting part now is that we might get the answer to what really hurt the park. If another company swoops in and makes it successful we'll know what was wrong the first time. So far, rumors have included Merlin Entertainment Group and Cedar Point operators Cedar Fair. Of course, no one has anything concrete yet. The likely bidders would have to be in a stable to strong financial position so I think we can rule out a Six Flags Myrtle Beach. PARC Management is a smaller player that owns a hanful of former Six Flags parks like Darien Lake and Elitch Gardens. Maybe they are in position to step in. Too bad Busch Entertainment isn't likely to acquire it as they are about to be sold by new owners InBev as it is. I've always wanted see a Busch Gardens Asia! Hopefully, we'll find out soon. Read all of my Hard Rock Park posts including its planning, construction, my trip, and ride reviews. What do you think will become of Hard Rock Park? Leave a comment below. 2 Responses Brian Rudloff November 17, 2008 Thank you for another interesting and timely post. Sadly, this is most unfortunate news. I have been looking forward to Hard Rock Park since it was announced and was unable to make it to Myrtle Beach from Los Angeles in the few months it was open. The current economic slump is really taking a toll on these smaller parks. With so many shutting down and plans being pushed back, I hope we have a financial turn around soon. Theme parks' futures are on the line, certainly Hard Rock's is. It would definitely be interesting to see if the park's success would have been different in more affluent times. Although, the management's marketing incompetence seems to have been a major factor in it's demise. I think Cedar Fair would be the best choice for a new owner. In my opinion, they really improved Knott's Berry Farm's management when they purchased it in 1997. Granted they got rid of a lot of classic attractions that gave Knott's it's nostalgic, old-school charm, but financially it has been successful. What do you think would be the best choice? From what I know about Hard Rock Park, it appears to have more than a few worthy rides, attractions, shows, and ideas to be given a fair chance.It is interesting to see how different parks are affected by the unfavorable economic climate. Disney does not seem too worried, offering a few merchandise and hotel discounts, while other parks like Celebration City are going belly up. Perhaps it is time for parks to lower admission costs. When was the last time that happened? In a depression environment, the movie industry thrives because it is still the cheapest form of entertainment outside of the house, despite the higher-than-ever ticket prices. In order for theme parks to compete with them, it only makes sense to lower admission prices, especially in California where Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed applying the sales and use tax rate to amusement parks and sporting events, which will raise park admission by seven to eight dollars. I might have to sacrifice TiVo or gasoline to get my theme park fix. These are trying times. The worst part, however, is that we cannot look forward to any new parks getting built in this kind of economy. Reply The Coaster Critic November 23, 2008 Brian, some parks did lower their admission that last summer. Six Flags did an everyone pays kids price promotion. I've never ran a park though, so I don't know what that does to your bottom line. If you get people in the park spending money you can probably mitigate the loss in admission revenue. As far as new parks, I would be that we'll still see some new parks in the next few years. The recession should end in a year or two at worst, right? There's the Decades Theme Park in Arizona planned for 2012, Alien Apex Theme Park planned for Roswell, New Mexico, and I've heard that the stalled WV park Wild Escape is back on again. So we may see some new parks in the near future.For now, I'm very interested in seeing what happens to Hard Rock Park, whether the rides get harvested or the park actually gets revived.Thanks for reading. And keep up the good work on your blog. 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