• Simpsons could be bargaining tool between Disney, Fox

    By: Jamie Holmes

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - The Simpsons ride at Universal Orlando has been a fan favorite for a decade.

     

    It's more than a ride, it encompasses an entire section of the park.

     

    Channel 9 anchor Jamie Holmes reports that some people wonder whether The Simpsons could be a bargaining tool to bring Marvel characters, such as The Avengers, to Walt Disney World.

     

    The Simpsons is an attraction where visitors can buy a Lard Lad doughnut and drink a Duff beer.

     

    But The Simpsons could also be chess pieces.

     

    "They're going to have a lot of bargaining chips here, and if they want to trade things, they can," Theme park financial analyst Rick Munarriz said.

     

    Disney is in negotiations with Fox to gain the rights to their film and TV properties.

     

    Among those is The Simpsons, which has a licensing agreement with Universal. Disney would own The Simpsons brand.

     

    Disney would then make money from The Simpsons merchandise sold at Universal, similarly to the way Disney makes money off Marvel merchandise sold at Marvel Super Hero Island.

     

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    "Some of that money they're making goes right into Disney's pockets. That has to sting Comcast at the end of the day. I could definitely see them say, ‘Let's just trade this,’" Munarriz said.

     

    Walt Disney World cannot use Marvel characters because of a deal between Marvel and Universal, forbidding the characters within 60 miles of Universal Orlando.

     

    But other analysts said Universal won't trade because its already spent too much on The Simpsons in Orlando.

     

    "They doubled down on this property in 2013. You saw them expand," theme park analyst Jim Hill said. "That's a lot of steel and concrete. I don't see Universal or Fox walking away from that."

     

    However, Disney could one day work The Simpsons into its parks, but is that really Disney's brand?

     

    "It's the kind of stuff that may seem out of place. You don't want kids walking around Disney World saying, 'Eat my shorts,'" said Hill.

     

    Universal keeps its Marvel deal alive by investing in the rides, and Hill believes that's the same deal with The Simpsons.

               

    When news of the potential Fox deal was made public, Universal Orlando told Channel 9, "Our guests are going to be able to continue enjoying The Simpsons ride and Springfield for a very long time."

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