With new owner, Busch Gardens parent renamed SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
The business known as Busch Entertainment Corp. that ran 10 theme parks including Busch Gardens in Tampa and SeaWorld in Orlando, is no more. Today it was renamed SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment after the closing of its $2.7 billion sale by Anheuser Busch InBev to private-equity giant The Blackstone Group.
According to a press release, "the new name reflects the prominence of the SeaWorld brand in both the family travel industry and among the company's portfolio of parks." Not to mention that it eliminates the Busch family name from the new theme park subsidiary parent name now that it has a new owner. Said Jim Atchison (in photo), who ran Busch Entertainment and now heads SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment:
"It is one of the world's most widely recognized and respected family travel brands. SeaWorld has been a brand associated with quality family entertainment since SeaWorld San Diego opened its gates for the first time in March 1964."
Atchison acknowledged to the Orlando Sentinel that the Busch name had to go. "We realized that the name Busch Entertainment Corp. was not going to fit with us moving forward," he said. "It wasn't really as much to disassociate from Busch as it was a desire to create a name that more fairly represented who we are." Here's the press release announcing the name change, the Orlando Sentinel coverage as well as an extensive Q&A by the Orlando paper with Atchison this week.
And what of the Busch name at the theme parks? The theme parks in Tampa and Williamsburg, Va., will retain their names through a long-term licensing contract with AB InBev, which was negotiated as part of the sale to Blackstone.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist