Theme Parks On The Block

Two major corporations are getting out of the theme park business in order to streamline operations and cut costs.

Both CBS Corp. and Six Flags Inc. announced in late January their plans to sell off the entertainment attractions

CBS will sell its Paramount Parks division, which reportedly drew more than 12 million visitors last year. Officials said “numerous parties” are interested in picking up the operation, which no longer fits in with the company’s focus on media content.

The unit operates Paramount’s Carowinds in Charlotte, N.C.; Canada’s Wonderland in Toronto; Great America in Santa Clara, Calif.; Kings Dominion in Richmond, Va., and Kings Island in Cincinnati.

Paramount’s Great America has hosted concerts including “Weird Al” Yankovic, Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, and Warrant, to name a few.

All parks are expected to operate as usual during the sale process, which could be completed later this year, CBS said.

The move is said to be related to CBS Corp.’s split with parent company Viacom, which was completed January 1st. Under the deal, Paramount Parks became part of CBS.

Meanwhile, Six Flags announced it will close its Oklahoma City office, sell its Frontier City and White Water Bay theme parks there, and move corporate operations to New York City as part of an ongoing reorganization effort.

“A strong corporate identity in New York – a major world entertainment, media and financial capital – is a vital component of our agenda as we position Six Flags as one of American’s leading family entertainment destinations,” Six Flags President/CEO Mark Shapiro said.

The sale of both theme parks is expected to take place after the 2006 season.

Company officials shuttered Houston’s Six Flags AstroWorld Southern Star Amphitheatre October 30th after 37 years in business. The 20,000-capacity venue hosted its last concert, a Hurricane Katrina benefit, in September featuring tobyMac, Third Day, Natalie Grant, and The Crabb Family.