During an earnings call Thursday morning, Comcast announced it didn’t know when any of their Universal parks would reopen and that construction on Universal Orlando’s Epic Universe Park will be delayed. The new park was originally on track to open in 2023, Comcast did not say if this delay would affect the overall timeline of the project.
Although it’s not a surprise that construction is delayed, it’s a contradiction to what Universal Parks & Resorts chairman Tom Williams said last month. In an update last month to their employees, Williams said, “our construction projects around the globe—Super Nintendo World in Osaka and Hollywood, Universal’s Epic Universe in Orlando and Universal Beijing all remain active and on track under protocols established by government officials with their support.”
The Universal Parks & Resorts division has taken a hit because of shutdowns caused by the pandemic, Comcast revealed in its first-quarter earnings report. Revenue for their theme parks saw a 32 percent dip from this time last year. Comcast reported for the current quarter, revenue for the theme parks was $869 million.
In a statement, Brian Robers, Comcast CEO, said, “This is a moment in time; and when it passes, I am very confident that the decisions we are making now will enable us to emerge from this crisis as a healthy, strong company that is well-positioned to continue to grow and succeed,”
Universal announced pay cuts for some park employees earlier this month. It also said it would begin furloughing part-time hourly employees on May 3. Hopefully, they closures and delayed construction won’t affect the new Orlando park and it will still remain on track (or close to being on track) for 2023.