(Bloomberg)—Comcast Corp.’s Universal Parks & Resorts division is planning two new regional developments in Texas and Nevada to capitalize on the growing popularity of out-of-home entertainment.
The company plans to build a family-focused resort aimed specifically at younger kids on 97 acres of land it’s acquired in the Dallas suburb of Frisco, Texas. It will include rides, shows and a hotel, as well as character meet and greets tied to the company’s library of film and TV properties, which include Minions and Shrek.
The company also announced plans for a year-round, horror-focused destination in Las Vegas. At 110,000 square feet, it will be the anchor tenant in a 20-acre expansion of Area15, an entertainment district that opened in Las Vegas in 2020. The location, near the city’s famous Strip and off of the 15 freeway, already includes themed restaurants and entertainment attractions such as Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, an immersive art experience.
Universal has long offered seasonal Halloween Horror Nights that attract young adults to its theme parks in the fall. The company’s movie studio was home to films based on classic characters like Frankenstein and Dracula. More recently it has carved out a niche working with a new generation of horror-film producers and directors such as Jason Blum, Jordan Peele and James Wan. Content from both historical and upcoming films will be featured in the Las Vegas property.
“Horror is not just for Halloween anymore at Universal,” Mark Woodbury, chairman of the company’s resorts unit, said in an interview.
Universal declined to share the cost or projected opening dates for either project. The two smaller developments are a new market segment for the company, which like its archrival Walt Disney Co., has historically focused on large destination resorts. More cities, both in the US and internationally, could be coming.
The theme-park business has been booming recently, as US consumers return to domestic resorts with pandemic concerns easing. Park operators have raised ticket prices and utilized technology such as online ordering to reduce costs. Comcast reported the most profitable quarter ever at its theme-park unit in October, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $819 million on sales of $2.06 billion.
The Philadelphia-based cable TV giant has been investing heavily in its resorts division, which includes theme parks in Florida, California, China, Singapore and Japan. A Nintendo-themed land opens next month at its Universal Studios Hollywood park in Los Angeles. The company is also building an entirely new theme park in Orlando, Florida, a multi-billion-dollar resort called Universal’s Epic Universe that is scheduled to open in 2025.
To contact the author of this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at [email protected].
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