Hard Rock Park will undergo name change

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. --- Hard Rock Park, at $400 million the single largest tourism investment in South Carolina history, will have a new name when it opens under new ownership next month.


FPI MB Entertainment, which bought the park out of bankruptcy for $25 million, hopes to rename it next week.

The purchase did not include rights to the Hard Rock name, which had been leased for $2.5 million a year from Hard Rock International by the previous owners.

The park, which opened last April, closed in September when the original owners filed for bankruptcy protection.

The park's new executives say the name change presents opportunities and challenges, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Friday.

"It's a new name, so the identity is not there," said John Stine, the director of sales and marketing. "The con is re-establishing the identity going forward, but we're very positive that we'll do that in a very expeditious manner based on the support and the cooperation that we see within the community."

Mr. Stine says the new park will have a musical orientation, though it won't be limited to rock 'n' roll.

He said renaming also fits a strategy of making it more friendly for families and younger children.

Some of the original rides were designed for older riders. For instance, a dark ride based on the Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin used psychedelic lights and images.

Mr. Stine said although there had been talks with Hard Rock about leasing the name, an agreement could not be reached.

"At the end of the day, it just made sense on both sides to just go in different directions," he said.

On Monday, a federal judge in Delaware ruled that a company owned by former park CEO Steven Goodwin had rights to the creative touches in the park's theme, layout and design. Mr. Goodwin has asked the new owners for royalties.

Mr. Stine said the ruling will speed changes in the park design.

"There were a number of things that we had in the works with our rebranding and the new creative direction we were taking it before the ruling," he said. "All this does is we continue to work harder, and we accelerate some things."