Flinging those digital Angry Birds was so much fun that they’ve inspired their own theme park. Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Doha are now the latest cities vying for the rights to an Angry Birds theme park, which plans to be the world’s largest of its kind. The glorified playground, which will feature rides, interactive games and Angry Birds-inspired feats, is expected to cost as much as 60 million dirham ($16.34 million).
Local agents for the developers of Angry Birds theme parks Lappset were approached by the three cities. The race is on, and Doha seems to jumped out to an early lead. Qatar’s capital city is already in the advanced stages of negotiation.
Rovio, the company behind the most-downloaded game app, has been actively redefining its business for some time now, molding it into more of an entertainment brand than one hit wonder, and theme parks are one of its many lucrative spin-offs. Angry Birds theme parks in Finland, Singapore and the UK have been wildly popular, and profitable—the branded parks helped push Rovio’s sales up 20% last year. And in China, where unofficial parks and Angry Bird copycats abound, Rovio has seen such a flourishing demand for the brand that rather than shunning counterfeits, it has decided to embrace them.
Despite eclipsing one billion downloads earlier this year, the Angry Birds empire now makes nearly 50% of its money on licensed merchandise. This year alone, Rovio has launched an Angry Bird video series, soda line and space encounter exhibit. Rovio’s speculative valuation has run the gamut from $1.2 billion, to $5.5 billion and as high as $9 billion at one point. The company’s ability to redefine its business going forward will dictate its worth when and if it eventually IPOs. So far, its agility has proven promising. Maybe that’s why Rovio is in no rush to go public. “We are growing very, very fast and we are insanely profitable so we can fund our own growth,” Angry Birds creator Peter Vesterbacka said at the launch of Angry Birds’s soda line earlier this year.
The race to open the world’s largest Angry Birds theme park is the latest testament to the brand’s seemingly endless global appeal. After all, the three competing country’s account for over 20 million downloads of the game. What remains to be seen is if the brand is powerful enough to lure locals off their couches and onto Angry Bird-themed monkey bars.