Comcast CEO Brian Roberts spoke at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference 2022 and shed some light on Universal’s theme parks. Roberts specifically covered the growth of Universal’s parks, saying the company is “gaining” market share on Disney.
“We’re then going to open [Nintendo] in Orlando in an entire new park, huge scale, called Epic Universe, kind of the size of Universal now, a whole another park, hotels, restaurants in 2025, ’26 period, massive construction going on now. We’re investing in this business all over the world, and we’re playing offense.”
“We’re – clearly, there’s one other company, Disney, that has a fabulous parks business. We’re gaining share. The ingenuity and the service and the customer satisfaction, it has never been better. And so again, we’ve looked for signs of slowdown, and I’m sure there will be moments. But right now, it’s allowing NBC to make these other investments not just in Epic Universe and in Nintendo but also in Peacock and elsewhere so that we’re not taking money from one pot to put it in another. This is very much transforming the company with its own balance sheet.”
Roberts’ comments come as Universal prepares its next major Florida expansion through the new Epic Universe theme park. Epic Universe, which will expand Universal’s presence in Orlando to three theme parks and one water park, aims to change the game in Florida. Universal hopes Epic Universe will keep guests on their property longer and eat away at the time guests spend at Disney.
It’s no surprise that Roberts is publicly praising his theme parks. He is the CEO, after all. But, Roberts is correct that Universal is becoming a bigger player in the Orlando theme park market. They’re investing big dollars into the idea that Disney isn’t bulletproof. We talked about this idea back in 2019 when we said Epic Universe is something Disney fans should be excited about.
Competition is good in the theme park world. Eventually, Disney will be forced to respond as Universal grows. We saw hints of that with Disney’s “Blue Sky” ideas for theme park expansions at the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the D23 Expo 2022. Those vague plans will be forced to come to fruition if Roberts’ comments on Universal’s market share pan out.