Construction of Universal's New Epic Universe Theme Park Delayed By A Year Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Earlier this morning, Comcast Corporation (the parent company of Universal) reported the results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020. During the earnings conference call, Universal officially confirmed that construction of their brand-new Florida theme park (Universal's Epic Universe) has been temporarily delayed.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings recently mentioned that Universal Orlando officials told him the project will be delayed by a year; as a result, the new park will not be able to open in 2023 as originally announced.


Here you are additional information released during the Q1 2020 Comcast earnings conference call:

“Society is being challenged like never before in our lifetime, and I couldn’t be prouder of our company, our employees, and our leadership team across Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky," commented Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Corporation.

"[...] While parts of our business have been more impacted by COVID-19 than others, we have continued to innovate. We are distributing our content in new ways, as evidenced by the recent launch of Peacock on X1 and Flex. We've also taken decisive action, having moved over 95% of our U.S. call-center employees to work from home and putting in place new procedures that have allowed more than 15,000 construction workers to safely come back to work to build our theme park in Beijing. All the divisions of our company are in constant communication, and the level of collaboration has been extraordinary. We have a strong balance sheet, terrific portfolio of assets, and a world-class management team. This is a moment in time; and when it passes, I am very confident that the decisions we are making now will enable us to emerge from this crisis as a healthy, strong company that is well positioned to continue to grow and succeed."

1st Quarter 2020 Highlights:
  • Generated Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of $8.1 Billion, Adjusted EPS of $0.71 and Free Cash Flow of $3.3 Billion
  • Total Customer Relationships Across Cable Communications and Sky Increased 2.6% Year-Over-Year to 55.8 Million
  • Cable Communications Total Customer Relationships Increased by 371,000 in the Quarter, the Best First Quarter Result on Record
  • Total High-Speed Internet Customer Net Additions Were 477,000 (Not Including 32,000 Free Internet Essentials Customers), the Best Quarterly Result in 12 Years
  • Cable Communications Adjusted EBITDA Increased 6.1% Driven by Strength in High-Speed Internet and Business Services

Key Responses to COVID-19:
  • Maintained Network Reliability: Since March 1, Cable Communications Has Seen a 33% Increase in Upstream Traffic and a 40% Increase in Wireless Data Usage Over WiFi
  • Keeping Customers Connected: Cable Communications and Sky are expanding access to vital internet and phone services, with Xfinity WiFi outdoor and business hotspots open in the U.S. for free, and Sky Talk offering free calls to UK landlines any time of day
  • Supporting our People: Across Cable Communications, NBCUniversal and Sky, we have committed $500 Million to support employees during this time. All employees who can work from home, are, including over 95% of Cable Communications’ call center employees, and ensuring customer-facing employees can do their job safely

Theme Parks

Theme Parks revenue decreased 31.9% to $869 million in the first quarter of 2020, primarily due to the closures of Universal Studios Japan in late February and Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. Adjusted EBITDA decreased 84.7% to $76 million in the first quarter of 2020, reflecting lower revenue and higher operating costs. The increase in operating costs was primarily due to increases in employee-related costs and pre-opening costs associated with the Universal Beijing Resort and Super Nintendo World in Universal Studios Japan, partially offset by lower park operation costs due to the park closures.
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