Hard Rock Park’s Makeover

The former Hard Rock Park near Myrtle Beach, S.C., will get a new name to go with its new owners when it reopens next month.

FPI MF Entertainment bought the troubled $40 million rock ‘n’ roll theme park out of bankruptcy for $25 million, not including Hard Rock International’s licensing agreement. A new name for the park had not been announced at press time.

The park’s Eagles and Led Zeppelin roller coasters will get new identities, too, as the new owners attempt to rebrand the failed park as a more family friendly venue.

But music will still be found in whatever incarnation is decided on for the park, as sales and marketing director John Stine said the new name will have a musical orientation.

Some industry watchers say the park will have an uphill battle with a new name, but others say the rebranding will help negate the bad publicity from the park’s rapid implosion and bankruptcy last year.

“It’s a new name, so the identity is not there,” Stine told the Myrtle Beach Sun News. “The con is re-establishing the identity going forward, but we’re very positive we’ll do that in a very expeditious manner based on the support and the cooperation that we see in the community.”

Stine also told the paper that there had been amicable talks with Hard Rock International, which considered keeping its name on the park but ultimately couldn’t reach an agreement with the new owners.

“Hard Rock International wishes … FPI MB Entertainment LLC the very best of luck with their new venture,” Oliver J. Munday, VP of franchise operations and development for Hard Rock International, said in a news release quoted by the News Sun.

And it’s possible the reorientation of the former Hard Rock Park mitigates the impact of a judge’s March 30 ruling that some of the park’s previous owners still had intellectual property rights to the overall rock ‘n’ roll theme, layout and design. Former CEO Steven Goodwin had asked FPI MB for royalties and licensing fees.

Stine denies the ruling had anything to do with the decision to overhaul the park.

“There were a number of things that we had in the works with our rebranding and the new creative direction we were taking it before the ruling,” Stine told the News Sun. “All this does is we continue to work harder, and we accelerate some things.”