Ryman Hospitality Properties’ national entertainment business, the Opry Entertainment Group, saw its revenue grow 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 sector grew 86.2% to $183.6 million.
Excluding acquisitions and investments over the past three years, Opry Entertainment Group’s revenue and EBITDA were 19% and 21% higher than the same period in 2019, the CEO said. Colin Reed. Among its assets are the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium and Wild Horse venues, as well as the media network Circle, a three-year partnership with Gray Television.
“This is the same growth we saw before the pandemic,” Reed said. However, the company lowered its guidance for full-year EBITDAre (a type of EBITDA) from $80 million to $76 million (the lower end of this range remained at $72 million).
The Opry Entertainment Group is benefiting from the growing interest of tourists in Nashville. CEO Reed said Nashville International Airport had 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 “succeed as a standalone, separate entity,” Reed said. To achieve this, in the second quarter, Ryman sold 30% of the Opry Entertainment Group to the investment company Atairos Group and the media giant NBCUniversal for a combined price of $ 300 million in a deal that was closed in the second quarter. The new investors have the right to request a public offering four years after the agreement – in 2026 – or sell their share to Ryman for cash or shares, said the president. Mark Fioravantiwho will succeed Reed as CEO on Jan. 1, 2023. Before the seventh year in 2029, Atairos Group and NBC Universal can sell their stake in Ryman if there has been no sale, spin-off or IPO.
Bringing in new investors should help Opry Entertainment Group’s efforts to capitalize on the popularity of national music and culture. Ole Red, a chain of music/music venues that the company created in partnership with Blake Shelton, opened its fourth location in Orlando in 2020 and a fifth location in May at Nashville International Airport. A sixth location in Las Vegas is planned for 2023.
The company joined another fast-growing city in the second quarter by closing on its purchase of Block 21, a mixed-use complex in Austin, Texas that includes ACL Live at the Moody Theater, a home of television. Austin City Limits Theatreand the W Austin Hotel is a retail and office complex.
Reed is optimistic that Nashville’s expansion will benefit the Opry Entertainment Group without hurting its larger hospitality business. There are more than 50 new hotel openings in Nashville-Davidson County, Reed said, and more than 2,600 city jobs will be created in the next two years. The hotels will not compete with the Ryman’s Opryland Resort and Convention Center outside of town, he said, and will bring additional customers to the Ryman’s entertainment center in the city.
“Many of these new visitors will see a show at the Ryman, visit the Opry House or spend an evening at Ole Red or Wild Horse,” another downtown Nashville venue in his district, Reed said. “When they leave Nashville and go home, or when they go to Austin or Las Vegas to do their concert tour, we’ll be there, continuing to engage with them either through our businesses in expanding Ole Red’s territory or expanding our local reach. television, digital broadcast or online .”