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Next European Park to get a B&M

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Fascinating discussion, until this I hadn’t really considered that B&M have almost shut off the European market for themselves.
If we're being a bit pessimistic, we can extend this quite a bit beyond Europe. I'm going as far as saying they've priced themselves out of the range of most parks anywhere, except for the very biggest ones, and even then only when the park is laying down a huge investment. Like new Chinese parks built from the ground up, or major additions to big Western parks.

I've got some time on my hands at the moment, so let's make an exhaustive list of parks that have built a new (not relocated) B&M coaster in Europe and North America in the past decade (2010-2020), and what type of coasters those were. Europe first:
  • Gardaland (Wing, Dive)
  • Heide Park (Wing, Dive)
  • Thorpe Park (Wing)
  • Parc Astérix (Invert)
  • PortAventura (Giga)
  • Efteling (Dive)
  • Toverland (Wing)
  • Liseberg (Dive)
North America:
  • Carowinds (Hyper, Giga)
  • Dollywood (Wing)
  • Canada's Wonderland (Giga, Dive)
  • Cedar Point (Wing, Dive)
  • Kings Island (Invert, Hyper)
  • Holiday World (Wing)
  • SeaWorld Orlando (Hyper)
  • SeaWorld San Diego (Dive)
  • Hersheypark (Hyper)
Here we see two reasons to worry: Firstly, they're really just selling to the biggest parks out there. Toverland is the only European park outside the continent's top 20 list by attendance (TEA) to build a B&M in the last decade (and as far as I can tell, the only of the parks not to be the biggest in its country if you're not counting Disney).
Secondly, they're really just selling three of their models. Only two of their coasters built in the West since 2010 were not Hypers, Wing Coasters, or Dive Coasters. Particularly in Europe, where parks tend to enforce stricter height limits, they've mostly just sold Dive and Wing coasters, and as we've seen, most of the parks that can afford them now have them.

This means that B&M's customer base is small and shrinking, because every coaster they build saturates their market further. Take Gardaland, for instance. They can't build a Hyper for space and height reasons, they've got a Wing Coaster and a Dive coaster already, their SLC probably means getting a B&M Invert is out of the question, and there are many cheaper options if they want to build a sit-down looper. Same story for Heide Park, minus the Hyper thing (a Giga was in Heide's plans a couple of decades ago, and although it didn't come to fruition, at least it shows they've got the space and height ceiling required) - but I don't see Merlin shelling out for one of those nowadays. You could probably say the same for Cedar Point too. They've got the entire catalogue already, minus the family coasters, which they can easily get cheaper elsewhere. Several American parks are one Wing coaster away from having built one of everything B&M is likely to sell them.

There are still openings in the European market, but they are somewhat few. I could see Thorpe and/or PortAventura getting a Dive Coaster, Toverland may realize their old dream of building a Batman clone, and Parc Astérix could splurge on a big B&M too some day, but unless Flyers make a triumphant return in the market (and as I've touched upon, I think Wing Coasters are taking over their niche) or the Surf Coaster turns out to be a best-seller, I don't see many potential customers for B&M in Europe.

I see somebody suggested Denmark, but I'm not sure. The last time a Danish park built a coaster with inversions was 2008, and the last time they built a full-circuit coaster taller than 31 meters was never. The Venn diagram of B&M's catalogue and the Danish market has an awfully small overlap.

In light of this, it's understandable that B&M appears to be making a larger fraction of their sales nowadays in China. It seems like there are Wing Coasters and Hypers popping up everywhere there. But I can't help but wonder what happens when the Chinese boom is over. They've got a tremendous property bubble ripe to burst any day now, and when that happens investments into theme parks may dry up for a while. It really looks like B&M is in desperate need of some innovation.
 

UP87

Member
and as far as I can tell, the only of the parks not to be the biggest in its country if you're not counting Disney
Europa Park is the biggest park in Germany - not Heide Park. But the two bigger parks Europa Park and Phantasialand have B&M coasters, as well. Those are a bit older though.
 

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Whatever the Surf Coaster turns out to be could potentially appeal to a lot of parks; if the rumours are true and it’s some kind of launch coaster with a twist, then that could be very appealing!
 

SDaniel

New Member
Whatever the Surf Coaster turns out to be could potentially appeal to a lot of parks; if the rumours are true and it’s some kind of launch coaster with a twist, then that could be very appealing!
I would love to see a multi launch coaster in the dark! (Imagine B&M making a multilaunch coaster, like Taron, indoors!) B&M could go that route in a park like the Efteling or Toverland! Walibi Holland could try and collaborate with B&M as well, because they have nothing from B&M at this time and so far as I know, there are no space- or height restrictions! If Energylandia ever gets a B&M, it will probably their biggest ride in the park ;-)
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Administrator
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Whatever the Surf Coaster turns out to be could potentially appeal to a lot of parks; if the rumours are true and it’s some kind of launch coaster with a twist, then that could be very appealing!
Yes, but at the same time, "launch coaster with a twist" isn't a wholly unfamiliar concept nowadays. It seems like pretty much everyone offers something along those lines, so there's a lot of competition. Besides, B&M were never that comfortable with launches in the first place, so who knows how many years they have to catch up compared to the rest of the actors in the industry. Remember that novel ideas isn't everything, you have to make them work as well, and new concepts have all sorts of little quirks that need to be ironed out. Others like Intamin or Gerstlauer have had 20 years of trial and error to figure out their stuff, while B&M have to catch up almost from nothing. It'll be interesting to see if they can retain both a unique selling point and their famous reliability/capacity with a new model.
 

emoo

Member
While that was funny it will take more than that to cheer me up after @Pokemaniac's very thorough cuts & truths.

Guess all we have to cling onto a random unheard of park that wants to make a statement.
 

oriolat2

Active Member
  • PortAventura (Giga)
I think Kings Island might want to have a word with you xD

There are still openings in the European market, but they are somewhat few. I could see Thorpe and/or PortAventura getting a Dive Coaster, Toverland may realize their old dream of building a Batman clone, and Parc Astérix could splurge on a big B&M too some day, but unless Flyers make a triumphant return in the market (and as I've touched upon, I think Wing Coasters are taking over their niche) or the Surf Coaster turns out to be a best-seller, I don't see many potential customers for B&M in Europe.
It's a shame PortAventura decided to invest in FerrariLand because I still see potential to build a large scale B&M but now the additions seem to be focused on the second gate. Let me break down what models I could see in PortAventura:

- B&M Dive Machine: PA likes to break records, and there has not been a large scale Dive Machine in Europe since Oblivion (in fact I would assume if Oblivion was to open now it would be a Junior Dive). I know they already have Shambhala, but they could build something that large and getting away with it because it would be floorless (different than Khan), feature large inversions and a vertical drop, which the park is lacking (not counting Red Farce).

- B&M Flying Coaster: at one point the park was rumoured to get one of these in the Polynesia section. I wouldn't put it past them to get one, since it's a unique model. There's noting like this in Spain or France. Again, nothing like this has been seen since Galactica, and F.L.Y is so far away and so different it wouldn't matter. After seeing what B&M can do with Flying Dinosaur, it would be feasible for them to buy one and sell it as Europe's tallest, fastest and maybe longest.

- B&M invert: just like a flyer, this was also rumoured to be on the cards way back in the mid 00s. Spain has a B&M invert in Batman La Fuga, but this could be a large scale invert like Banshee. After all, PA is a bit like Cedar Fair, go big or go home.

- B&M wing coaster: hear me out on this one. I have a theory. Ever since Red Force was announced, I have the feeling that PA has been thinking of getting rid of Baco. It sure is popular but it's a maintenance nightmare and rides like **** these days. Plus, in the event that the park wants to merge FL into the existing PA, Furius Baco is THE only route to do that. The easiest way would be to scrap the coaster altogether now that they have a bigger, faster launch coaster next door. If that was to happen, that park would have the perfect excuse to install a large B&M wing coaster and claim any sort of European record.

I am pretty sure we won't be seeing anything too large in the near future but I am sure B&M will come back to the park within the next 10 years.
 
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Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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I think Kings Island might want to have a word with you xD
Whoops, I always forget how big Shambhala isn't.

But yeah, if I were to pick one likely candidate overall, it would be PortAventura. Either in the main park or in Ferrari Land. They neither have an Invert, a Dive Machine, nor a Flyer, but they are the sort of park that would get any of those, and they have two B&M coasters in operation already. As you said, a Wing Coaster could potentially also be in the cards. PortAventura is one of the few parks left with lots of potential for B&M.
 

Albo85

New Member
This is a very interesting question, but hoo boy, it will take some time to answer properly. At least when I'm asked about it.

First, I think, the premise of the question warrants some exploration: what is B&M offering, that parks in Europe would be likely to build? I think the answer is related to why the question was asked in the first place: B&M's coasters all come in very big boxes. And they have a fairly limited selection too: the B&M home page lists only nine models for sale: Wing, Hyper, Dive, Flying, Floorless, Inverted, Sitting, Stand-up, and Family coasters - the latter come both in inverted and non-inverted configurations, although nobody has bought the non-inverted ones yet. Actually, only Happy Valley has bought the inverted one too, and I don't consider them likely to show up on the European market any time soon given the stiff competition from other, cheaper manufacturers in that market segment.

One simple issue greatly disfavours B&M, sadly: Their coasters all tend to be in the upper size range of what a park is willing to build these days. As @JammyH touched upon above, parks have a ton of compact coaster models to choose between. Launched shuttle and semi-shuttle coaster layouts have really taken off across the industry, while B&M has yet to adapt to the introduction of conventional launch coasters. The Dive and Wing coasters have too wide trains to function with a compact layout, and inherently need a lot of space. You only build those when you have money to burn.

Not to mention, all the competition against other manufacturers when talking about coasters in that size range. I'd almost say you could discount B&M's conventional multi-loopers completely given how there are so many other, cheaper, or more flexible manufacturers offering comparable products: Mack, Intamin, Vekoma, S&S, RMC to some degree, even Gerstlauer if you want to stretch definitions a little. I think there's a reason why B&M hasn't built a new, conventional multilooper in the West since Led Zeppelin in 2008 (and since then, only two Floorless loopers in India and Hong Kong - barring the two Hulk clones for Universal Studios, of course). Others simply build 'em better or cheaper.

Hypers were never a favoured coaster type in Europe - there are only six conventional hypers in total across all manufacturers: Shambhala, Silver Star, Big One, Expedition GeForce, that new one in Walibi Belgium, and Goliath. New Hypers are an extremely rare occurrence, and it almost seems like all the parks that could afford or be allowed to build them have got them already. And again there's competition: Intamin, Mack, and Vekoma all offer their take on the conventional Hypers. I can't even imagine what it would take for an European park to order a B&M Hyper these days.

That leaves us with four B&M models with a credible chance on the European market: Inverts, Dive Machines, Wing Coasters, and Flying coasters. At least there's little competition here, which is why those coasters make up such a great chunk of B&M's sales record in the past few years. For inverts, the only real competitor is Vekoma, but it seems like Vekoma focuses on smaller-scale inverts than B&M. Intamin dabbles slightly in it as well, but with limited success so far (although both would probably outbid against B&M's family coaster model). Anyway, large-scale Inverts are kinda rare these days. Gröna Lund is actually the only park to have built a B&M Invert worldwide since Banshee (2014). The situation is almost the same for Dive Machines versus Eurofighters: for the small ones, go to Gerstlauer, for the big ones, go to B&M, and the two don't seem to compete against each other much. For Flyers, we have yet to see Vekoma's impact on that market segment, but it's kinda tiny already. Only 11 B&M Flyers have ever been built, and none outside Asia since 2009. I'm wondering if the parks see the Wing Coasters as a better alternative, by giving that same sensation of flying with much less hassle at the loading station. Anyway, since they are still built in Asia (at least until 2016, that's recent enough for me), let's not discount Flyers entirely.

So in conclusion (and oh my, we're only halfway yet), the question to answer is: "Which European parks could build a B&M Invert, Wing, Flyer or Dive Machine?".

In the UK, I could possibly see Thorpe get a Dive Machine à la Valkyria, or possibly a Flyer. They already have an Invert and a Wing, and appear to see great success with them, so future cooperation with B&M seems likely. I don't think a Hyper is likely, given the sheer amount of space and money required. Then again, Merlin's near-monopoly situation for thrill parks means they can keep investment to a minimum without losing market share, so a new expensive coaster at Thorpe may not happen for many years. No other park in the UK seems likely to be able to afford a B&M (money- and space-wise) in the foreseeable future, given the abundance of cheaper options and, dare I say it, a general tendency to flock towards those cheaper options whenever possible. Why build a new Manta clone when you can have a Pinfari Zyklon with only eight previous owners?

PortAventura with Ferrari Land is a wild card in Spain. Well, honestly, it's kind of the only card in Spain's deck. A little bit of RCDB-ing around provided a list to illustrate: That resort has built the only coasters in Spain to go faster than 80 km/h since 2006 (the year of Abismo - all other coasters to break that barrier in Spain were built in 2002 or before). But if they want to expand their portfolio a little, a B&M is not a bad call. They have two B&Ms already, yet none of the four discussed models.

It's always hard to tell with France. Tons of parks, all of them either kinda small or kinda uninterested in coasters, apart from Parc Asterix and Disneyland Paris. And with Disney being Disney, and Asterix having ordered a huge Intamin for 2022, the French market for big coasters appears to be saturated for the foreseeable future. But hey, you never know, suddenly some park we've never heard of with ten million annual visitors will order a family coaster to take guests around the medieval exhibit or something to that effect.

The German parks are unpredictable too, and likely candidates don't really stand out. Europa Park is Mack's domain. Phantasialand can't build tall (so no Dive Machine), have no space (so no Wing Coaster) and have all the Inverts and Flyers they need. Heide Park has an Invert, a Wing coaster, and a Dive Machine already, and Colossos might be big enough to cover the need for Hyper coasters too. But they could possibly get a Flyer? Maybe? The title of Europe's tallest Flyer is right there for the taking. Hansa Park could be another candidate. Movie Park Germany seems like the park that would have bought a B&M, but have to fight their owners to get funding for anything.

I don't see Denmark getting any B&M's any time soon. All their parks are family parks with family coasters aimed at families with kids coming by car from all over Scandinavia and northern Germany. Dæmonen is practically the biggest thrill coaster the country is likely to see, and that's at the very smallest size B&M builds. By extension, we could write off the rest of Scandinavia too. The Norwegian parks are too small, the Swedish ones too space-restricted.

Benelux? Maybe. Who knows. Toverland or Walibi Holland could have some plans. Walibi Belgium building that Hyper probably keeps them out of the market for a few years, but you never know what they will ask for when the coffers fill up again in a few years. Plopsaland is in the same situation, with that Mack spinner. Maybe the parks are big enough to want a B&M, but right now they have other plans.

Italy? Eh, you never know. Probably not Mirabilandia unless Parques Reunidos has a drastic change of philosophy/deservedly goes bust. Gardaland appears to have most of the B&M catalogue covered already. They have an Invert, a Wing, and a Dive Machine. That does leave a Flyer, theoretically, but Flyers are rare. I'm not sure if the other minor parks of Italy are big enough to afford B&M coasters, but you never know.

Poland? Hard to tell. Energylandia seems liable to build anything. There's also Legendia, but not much else. Likewise, most of central and eastern Europe seems to have too small parks for B&M to be an option. Maybe there are parks in Russia or Turkey that would order something. Those parks have a tendency to suddenly splurge on really big coasters after years of total quiet.

To conclude, it seems like @JammyH has it right: B&M is outside the market for most parks, and they have many competitors for the contracts they can participate in. Big coasters are fairly rare, even at big parks, and B&M is one of many manufacturers to offer them. They have some niches, but do poorly outside of those. I wonder what would happen if the Chinese theme park market suddenly collapsed. Would B&M reform their conservative ways, and offer some smaller coasters, or remain steadfast to their principles as their contracts dwindle up? I guess we'll see. If B&M changes, the entire premise of this post may be turned completely on its head.

Whew, that was a long one.

Interesting topic!
The thing about Gardaland is that the last 2 major rollercoaster were from B&M and it's been 5 year since Oblivion 'TBH' .
I think in the next 3/4 years it's totally possible we'll see a surf coaster other than other models for 2 reasons: the lack of available land and height restriction.
This will benefit the park in so many ways... bringing something new and original. Gardaland doesn't need huge rides because it always compesate it with overkill theming!

As much as i think there is one park that is really missing a Hyper coaster is actually Mirabilandia. They have the land and no height restriction, they proved in the past that they can build amazing world class AAA rides... but i believe they are lacking a good menagement and it's gonna take a long long time before they will recover from many years of failed investments... Hell I don't even know how they are still manage to open after spending 30M on Ducati world and pissing everyone off because they are promoting it since 2 years and still has not open yet (officially). I really hope for a brighter and bigger future for this park because it has the potential to be a fantastic worldwide destination for thrill lovers!
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Hell I don't even know how they are still manage to open after spending 30M on Ducati world
Because Ducati were probably the ones to take that bill. Parques Reunidos' entire investment budget for that year was €55 million, and there's no way Mirabilandia alone got half of it. I would think much of the cost would be passed over to Maurer as well for failing to deliver a functional ride.

But yeah, Mirabilandia probably won't get a B&M until Parques Reunidos keels over and dies.
 

TPSou

Member
I agree that a Port Aventura Dive Coaster seems like the most likely, something big like the US ones would be a big draw in Europe I think, they look so impressive in pics.
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
If PortAventura got a dive coaster, I reckon it would be a 6-seater, but the largest ever built, or at least on a similar scale to Flying Apsaras in Western Region. Would save a lot of money, as the large Dive coaster track is the most expensive track B&M make.
 
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