OPINION: Six Flags CEO Insults Park Fanbase and Aims to Drive Them Out


Eden Kayser

The popular amusement park chain Six Flags has received backlash from fans for raising ticket prices, dropping attendance as a result. But apparently this is a goal for the new CEO, Selim Bassoul who says the park chain offered too many discounts and became a “cheap daycare for teenagers”. Bassoul shamelessly commented that the company is aiming to market more affluent neighborhoods and drive out customers who use discounts and may start trouble that could affect business. He even compared the parks to department stores, saying he wants to migrate from Walmart and Kmart customers to those who shop at Target. These classist remarks have angered guests, many of whom decided to cancel their membership and not return.  

After losing over 3 million season passholders and nearly 1 million members in 2020, Six Flags hired Selim Bassoul as the new CEO on November 15th, 2021. Six Flags has been losing money and fans since the COVID pandemic. After continuing to charge members despite parks being closed, Bassoul decides to discontinue sale of the now called Legacy Membership because of guests taking advantage of the discounts included. The company hoped that guests would cancel their membership and instead buy a season pass for more money and far less benefits. When the franchise continually lost money, they introduced a new annual membership which is similar to the old one but still includes less benefits and costs more money.  

The increased prices and lack of discounts is a marketing strategy intended to only serve guests and families who have more income, exclude “troublesome” lower income guests, and provide a more upscale experience with less lines and crowding. However, with less guests, Six Flags is experiencing a decline in revenue, losing 24 million dollars in Q2 of 2022. Bassoul stated that “This is a transitional year for Six Flags, as we reset the foundations of our business model to focus on delivering a premium guest experience, while at the same time, correcting for decades of heavy price discounting”. The company seems to want to attract more new guests than the previous guests, and losing their loyalty as a cost. The lower attendance doesn’t seem to be paying off and some fans have refused to come back until Bassoul steps down.