The Universal theme park division inside Comcast reported its highest quarterly earnings ever for the three-month period ending Sept. 30, 2022.
Quarterly records have become commonplace for Universal parks — its last quarter, for example, saw the division’s highest second quarter earnings ever. The third quarter performance goes further by setting an all-time high for the theme park segment at $819 million, a 88 percent jump over the same time period last year.
“We’re seeing clear evidence that the investments we made throughout the pandemic continue to pay off,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said.
Performance was also helped by the newest park in the Universal family, Universal Studios Beijing, achieving profitability for the first time. (The park is now temporarily closed due to China’s strict zero-COVID policies.)
Theme park revenue was up 42 percent over the same period in 2021 to $2.04 billion. Year-to-date revenue is up 71 percent, though Comcast cautioned this is primarily due to parts of 2021 reflecting COVID-19 restrictions on its parks in U.S,. and Japan.
Spending and attendance were also up at the theme parks, though Universal didn’t offer specific figures. The company is also spending more on capital expenditures “as we continue to invest in attractions and make significant progress in building Epic Universe in Orlando,” said Comcast chief financial officer Mike Cavanagh.
Recession concerns don’t appear to be slowing down Universal parks’ momentum, either.
“We’re seeing no effects of that right now in the theme parks, either in terms of our actual performance or our bookings going forward,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said. “Florida’s really strong, Hollywood’s really strong, Japan really ended the quarter pretty strong. So it kind of defies logic a little bit, but part of it is based on the investments Brian outlined in his opening were really paying off. The theme park business is really strong and we’re seeing no weakness there.”