Revenue Soars Amid Pandemic Recovery – Billboard

Opry Entertainment Group, Ryman Hospitality Properties’ country-focused entertainment business, saw revenue rise 57.3% to $77.2 million in the third quarter, the company reported Monday (Oct. 31). In the first nine months of 2022, the entertainment segment grew 86.2% to $183.6 million.

Excluding acquisitions and investments over the past three years, Opry Entertainment Group’s revenue and EBITDA were up 19% and 21% over the same period in 2019, the CEO said. Colin Reid. Its properties include the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and Wild Horse venues, as well as the media network Circle, a three-year-old joint venture with Gray Television.

“It’s the same kind of growth we saw pre-pandemic,” Reid said. However, the company lowered the top end of its guidance range for full-year Entertainment Adjusted EBITDAre (the real estate version of EBITDA) from $80 million to $76 million (the bottom end of the range remained at $72 million).

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Opry Entertainment Group is benefiting from growing tourist interest in Nashville. Outgoing CEO Reid said Nashville International Airport handled a record 1.83 million passengers in June, up 9% from the same month in 2019. Nashville also set a June hotel demand record of 875,000 room nights, up 11% from June 2019.

Ultimately, Ryman wants the Opry Entertainment Group to “thrive as a separate, independent entity,” Reed said. To that end, in the second quarter, Ryman sold 30% of Opry Entertainment Group to investment firm Atairos Group and media giant NBCUniversal for a combined $300 million that closed in the second quarter. New investors have the right to request an initial public offering four years after the deal – in 2026 – or sell their stake back to Ryman for cash or shares, the chairman said. Mark Fioravantiwho will succeed Reed as CEO on January 1, 2023. Before the seventh anniversary in 2029, Atyros Group and NBC Universal can sell their stake back to Ryman if there is no sale, spin-off or IPO.

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Bringing in new investors should help Opry Entertainment Group’s efforts to capitalize on the popularity of country music and culture. Ole Red, the multi-level bar/music venue chain the company created in partnership with country star Blake Shelton, opened a fourth location in Orlando in 2020 and a fifth location at Nashville International Airport in May. A sixth location in Las Vegas is planned for 2023.

The company entered another fast-growing city in the second quarter by closing the acquisition of Block 21, a mixed-use property in Austin, Texas that includes ACL Live at the Moody Theater, home to television shows. Austin City Limits Theatreas well as the W Austin hotel and retail and office space.

Reid is optimistic that Nashville’s growth will benefit the Opry Entertainment Group without hurting its core hospitality business. There are more than 50 new hotel developments in Nashville-Davidson County, Reed said, and the city projects 2,600 additional rooms will be available over the next two years. The hotels are not competitors to Ryman’s Opryland Resort and Convention Center on the city’s border, he noted, and will bring additional customers to Ryman’s entertainment properties in the city.

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“Many of these new visitors will see a show at the Ryman, visit the Opry House or spend an evening at the Ole Red or the Wild Horse,” said Reid, another downtown Nashville venue in his portfolio. “When they leave Nashville and return home, or they head to Austin or Las Vegas for their music tour, we’ll be there, engaging with them through our investments to expand the Ole Red footprint or expand our virtual reach across linear lines. Television, digital streaming or online.


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