When Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins and noted spokesman for Short Man’s Disease, installed Mark Shapiro, former ESPN executive VP of programming, as the CEO of Six Flags in 2005 at a rumored cost of $10m in guaranteed salary and bonuses, he certainly hoped for better than cockroach eating contests and finding exciting new lows for the stock price.
Thankfully, 2008 will finally be the year that hire pays off for Snyder. They’re hired away their CFO from Euro Disney, agreed to terms to build Six Flags Over Dubai, and only posted a $253m loss last year. Also, Shapiro has finally figured out how to lure the key teen demographic back to the parks. (No, not Guitar Hero contests. That would be ridiculous.)
(Six Flags Marketing meeting)
That’s right: theme park cheerleaders!
Now you may ask how having college-aged hot bodies called “Six Flags Thrilleaders” executing “Bring it On”-style routines in the middle of their theme parks and at “special events” will increase teen attendance and/or cash flow? Why, it’s so simple that even a former ESPN exec can explain it for only $10m!
For those of you not on the Snyder spending plan:
- $20 registration fee required
- “Being a Six Flags Thrilleader is a part-time job with a full-time commitment.”
- “The cheerleaders get paid a nominal fee for each the entire season they perform. There are also opportunities for paid appearances throughout the season. It is required for the cheerleaders to have a full-time job or be a full-time student because being an Six Flags Thrilleaders is not a full-time paying job.”
- “The judges are looking at appearance, showmanship, dance/cheer ability, and a fit shape.” (Emphasis ours. Theirs, too, if they were totally honest about the matter.)
- Finally, the cheerleaders will be young enough to still technically be teenagers. Therefore, there will be more teens in the park. Win!
A low-cost work force shaking its moneymakers at teenagers simply for the privilege of 20% off at the gift shop? Frankly, it’s amazing anyone would be talking about bankruptcy with Six Flags. They’re not remotely out of ideas yet. Has anyone mentioned to Shapiro how much the Sky Trek Tower ride at Six Flags Great America looks like a stripper pole?