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The $85 million tourism machine called the Empire State Building

@rafat

Jan 01, 2013 11:10 am

Skift Take

ESB is facing increasing competition from the observatory at Rockefeller Center and an observatory being built at One World Trade Center, but its position as the preeminent New York City icon remains.

— Rafat Ali

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Empire State Building by sunset. Rafat Ali


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Last week the Securities and Exchange Commission gave Empire State Building Associates, the company that controls the iconic Empire State Building in New York, the go ahead to proceed with its posible IPO and raise as much as $1 billion. The updated S-4 filing has some fascinating numbers on how big a tourism behemoth that the observatory on top of ESB is. And we’ve excerpted some of the numbers below:

  • The Empire State Building offers panoramic views of New York from its 86th and 102nd floor observatories.
  • For 2007 through 2011 and for the nine months of 2012, the number of visitors to the observatories was approximately 3.67 million, 4.03 million, 3.75 million, 4.03 million, 4.06 million and 3.24 million, respectively.
  • About 8-10 percent of all domestic and international tourists coming to New York end up going on top of ESB, and that’s not counting most that gawk and photograph it from outside.
  • The number of admissions to the observatory for the 12 years from 2000 through 2011 increased at an aggregate growth rate of 16.4%.
  • For 2007 through 2011, the building increased the average ticket revenue per admission from $15.47 to $17.96 and for the nine months of 2012, the average ticket revenue per admission was $19.61. The average ticket revenue per admission has increased for each of the 12 years from 2000 to 2011 at a compound annual growth rate of 9.3%.
  • It generated approximately $68.5 million and $80.6 million in revenue from its observatory operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and the year ended December 31, 2011, respectively, representing approximately 40.1% and 40.5% of the Empire State Building’s total revenue for these periods.
  • At this rate, the total revenues may touch $85 million for 2012.
  • Over the past ten years, the number of visitors to the observatory, on average, has been slightly higher in the third quarter and slightly lower in the first quarter of each year.
  • Total revenue and operating income from the observatory’s operations have exhibited positive growth in all but two years from 2001 to 2011 (2001 and 2009), representing a compound annual growth rate for total revenue and operating income (including concessions revenue) of 12.4% and 12.5%, respectively.
  • The observatory has demonstrated strong performance despite competitive pressures as total revenue and operating income (including concessions revenue) increased by over 25.0% in 2005 and over 11.0% in 2006, despite the opening of the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center in November 2005.

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