Monday, July 31, 2017

Estimate Author Making Excuses for Little Kennie and Poor Ark Park Attendance

I don't plan on writing more about the ark park and taxes, but I never said I wouldn't be writing more about the ark park, especially when they try and change history.  As has been pointed out a number of time, little kennie likes to change his attendance estimates, always in a downward direction.  He does this all the while forgetting the previous estimates -- as if they never existed and he seems to think no one will notice.  Luckily for kennie, we rarely let him forget!

Today I read a new revisionist history, over on the Lexington-Herald, a Letter to the Editor ("Timing hurt Ark attendance") tries to do exactly that.  Change a little history and at the same time offer an excuse as to why the attendance at the ark park missed all of little kennie ham's projection estimates by a pretty wide margin, nearly 30%.  I am basing that on one comment from this letter:

"I was disappointed the Ark hit only 1 million guests the past year because we should have had more."
The original estimate, which little kennie touted far and wide, was 1.4 to 2.2 million visitors.  At the low end, they missed by just under 30%, if you look at the high end, they missed by over 55%.  In any event the estimate was way off, and here, the author of the letter . . . and the one who provided kennie with the way-off estimate, tries to lay blame for his error.

Yes, the letter is by the owner and founder of 'America's Research Group', his name is C. Britt Breen.  I don't know what the 'C' stands for, so I'll call him 'Britt'  Who, if you recall is a friend of little kennie's AND provided the overly optimistic estimates that kennie kept lowering and lowering as the year went by.  It is a bit confusing because the source of kennie's estimates weren't always clearly identified, but kennie quoted Britt and his research group often.  So, what went wrong?  Well, according to Britt:
"We opened on July 7, 2016. By opening this late, we missed those who plan their summer vacations in March, April and May. Approximately 41 percent of families make their summer vacation plans before their children get out of school. Those making vacation plans before school ends exceed 10 million families in the states where we are getting the vast majority of guests. Many tour bus companies set up summer schedules by March so they have at least three months to promote tour plans.
Had we opened earlier and gotten more families and more tour bus operators, we easily would have attracted an additional 480,000 to 600,000 guests."
My issue is that Britt is attempting to re-write history.  It wasn't that the ark park
opened later than planned, the ark park opened exactly when they planned it. Back in 2015 kennie announced the opening date:
" . . .Ark Encounter will be opening on July 7, 2016. That’s 7/7/16. We wanted to choose an opening day that had significance, and so like we do in every aspect of the Answers in Genesis ministry, we started with God’s Word. Genesis 7:7 says, “So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood.” Using the verse reference (7:7) as a date (July 7) gives us the most appropriate time to allow the public to enter the Ark as well."(Ark Opening Date Announced to Public)
Little kennie himself called it 'the most appropriate time', so wouldn't you think a professional research group would take into consideration the opening date when providing estimates?  I know I would think that, but instead Britt tries to lay the blame for the overly optimistic estimates on the open day, claiming that if they had opened earlier, they would have just made the lower end of Britt's estimate.

Is his statement true?  Well, if they had opened earlier, they may well have hit the mark set by Britt, at least the lower mark was within the realm of the possible.  But  . . . isn't Britt's statement sorta self-serving?  First off, did they really miss those who plan their summer vacations in March, April and May?  How can you even say that when you set the opening date more than 2 years earlier.  The people who planned summer vacations certainly had plenty of notice, more than enough to plan a trip if they felt the desire to do so.  So timing can't be the main reason, Britt might need to look elsewhere.

Little kennie blames Atheists and the media, he also blames the local community for not providing enough other attractions to really bring people in, and Britt here blames the timing -- which was determined years before the opening by kennie and Co.  Funny how no one mentions other potential causes, like:

  • Self-limiting the attraction to a specific audience
  • High ticket prices
  • Exhibits without an inkling of reality
  • Pretty much every review not given by an Evangelical or Conservative visitor

Personally, one of the mistakes kennie and Britt made was one of hubris.  They build an attraction that is designed to appeal to a small segment of the world's population and then they are surprised when people who don't share that world view don't show up in droves?  That would have been the only way to make those numbers, but the very idea people who think his world view is pretty silly would view the ark park as nothing but an expensive joke.  I'm sure some visited out of curiosity, but I would bet the majority paid it little attention.

All in all, it sounds like a case of hindsight always being 20-20?  I have to wonder if kennie giving his buddy Britt a hard time over missing the estimate so badly and this letter is an effort to pass the buck.  But in reality I don't really care.  What bothered me when I read it was the deliberate attempt to re-write history.  The estimates were missed and blaming the timing that was announced two years previously is a non-starter.  Britt, you might turn your 'professional research group' to look for a real answer why turnout is lower than prayed for . . . that answer might do kennie, and the people of Kentucky, some actual good.  But this letter tells me that Britt is less interested in reality than in making excuses.  He really should have been able to come up with a better one than this.

The reason I mention the people of Kentucky is simply because these are the people waiting for the as-of-yet unfulfilled promises of an economic turn-around.  They are also the ones that will be on the hook if the ark park fails miserably.  Don't forget the junk bonds floated helped build the un-floatable boat.

Do I plan on visiting the ark park?  No!  I already paid admission to one of kennie's other ministries, the creation pseudo-museum.  I have much more important things to spend money on than giving it to kennie, like paying my granddaughter to cut the grass or making a small donation to Planned Parenthood or maybe the local LGBT organization.  At least that money will get used in a more positive direction.  I doubt kennie's story has changed any since I visited his other ministry, and looking at a replica of a boat that there is no evidence of having actually existed isn't my idea of time well spent.  I don't think I would learn anything new, just a re-hash of kennie's version of the Biblical story, which actual Biblical scholars don't agree with anyway.

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