SeaWorld Fishes For Customers, Will Offer 'Blue Friday' Discounts

SeaWorld Entertainment  (SEAS) , faced with slipping revenue and lower park attendance since the release of a 2013 documentary that focused on the death of a park worker by a killer whale, is trying to enter the "Black Friday" arena with a "Blue Friday" deal.

SeaWorld is working to regain its image and sales volume after "Blackfish," the documentary that highlighted orca whales' aggressive nature when kept in captivity. The documentary focused on Tilikum, a SeaWorld orca who had also killed another trainer and one trespasser.

Among the offers are a chance to buy one 2017 annual pass and get another one for 50% off, get discounts on its Discovery Cove admission package or buy one all-day dining pass and get another for free. An annual pass costs $168, as is listed on SeaWorld's website.

SeaWorld will offer the deals beginning 12 a.m. Friday, Nov. 25, through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28.

This year, 59% of Americans, about 137.4 million people, surveyed by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics said they are considering shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend, which includes the holiday, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

SeaWorld's sales will extend through Cyber Monday.

Earlier this month, SeaWorld reported revenue fell to $485.3 million in the 2016 third quarter, compared year-over-year to revenue of $497 million. Wall Street was expecting $486 million in revenue for the quarter. Revenue at the company has declined in seven of the 11 quarters since the beginning of 2014.

On the company's earnings call, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby attributed the lower sales to Hurricane Matthew, the October storm that devastated parts of the east coast. Operations at SeaWorld's Orlando theme park and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia were affected by the hurricane, costing the company $4 million, Manby said. 

Second quarter revenue had declined to $371.1 million from $391.6 million in 2015. Analysts had expected SeaWorld to post revenue of $374.8 million for the second quarter.

Manby said on his third quarter earnings call that the company will honor its commitment to animal welfare in the fourth quarter. In March, SeaWorld ended its orca breeding and scheduled plans to halt all theatrical shows by 2017. On Nov. 4, the California Coastal Commission approved the company to construct a natural orca encounter exhibit in lieu of the shows.

Additionally, SeaWorld partnered with various animal rights groups.

On Thursday, the company announced that it teamed up with nonprofit The Everglades Foundation to start an educational program on the declining Everglades ecosystem, which is home to 70 threatened and endangered species. In March, the company partnered with animal protection and advocacy group The Humane Society of the U.S. to help create a program that will rehabilitate distressed oceanic animals.

Shares of SeaWorld rose 12 cents to $17.09 early Thursday afternoon.

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