In general, company officials have made it clear that expanding the breeding program is a big reason for the proposed addition. Regarding its business model, which includes the unethical artificial insemination of unnaturally young female killer whales, SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchinson told The Today Show last week, "We make no apologies for what we do and how we do it."
Here's the deal. SeaWorld is banking that this gesture will win it votes in the California legislature, and don't expect quick action. I predict major construction on Blue World (at least in San Diego) will not begin until after a final vote on AB-2140 is counted. The company may stage a "ground breaking ceremony" for the press. But one shovel-load does not dig a 50-foot pool with added water treatment capability, plumbing and an "orca treadmill."
Why San Diego?
According to this report by WKMG-TV/Orlando as well as the SeaWorld web page, "the San Diego project is expected to open in 2018. New killer whale homes will then be constructed at SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Antonio." Considering that SeaWorld's Orlando park is more profitable, sees more visitors, is home base for corporate headquarters, and has cheaper construction costs, you'd think that the Blue World Project would start there. So what gives?
Choosing San Diego is a strategic business move. This accomplishes at least five things for SeaWorld.An artist's rendering of the proposed Blue World Project.