Ryman Hospitality Properties
|Traded as||NYSE: RHP|
Russell 2000 Component
|Colin Reed (CEO)|
|Total assets||US$2,336,867,000 (2007)|
|Total equity||US$941,492,000 (2007)|
|Subsidiaries||Grand Ole Opry|
Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP) is a hotel, resort, entertainment, and media company named after National Historic Landmark the Ryman Auditorium, built as a tabernacle by Captain Thomas G. Ryman in 1892 and later the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. The hospitality group was founded by Edward Gaylord. Prior to its public ownership, it was previously a subsidiary of the Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Publishing Company, which was formerly owned by the Gaylord family for 71 years until 2011. The OPUBCO company was once the longtime publisher of the Daily Oklahoman newspaper. Until 2012, the company was known as Gaylord Entertainment Company, and earlier as Gaylord Broadcasting Company. The company has operated as a real estate investment trust since October 1, 2012.
Gaylord Entertainment came into existence after Edward Gaylord was persuaded by his wife, Thelma, to purchase the Opryland USA properties that had been put up for sale by American General Insurance. The Gaylords took the Opryland businesses, merged them with Gaylord Broadcasting (their existing television station and syndicated program division) and created Opryland USA, Inc. Opryland USA, Inc. became the Gaylord Entertainment Company when the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in the early 1990s. The company flourished as the leader in the "country lifestyle" business under the leadership of E.W. "Bud" Wendell until he retired in 1997.
The Opryland Lodging Group was formed with the opening of the 600 room Opryland Hotel (now named Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center) in November 1977. In addition to catering to guests from the Opryland USA Themepark and Grand Ole Opry, the hotel's first general manager, Jack Vaughn, sought to cater to conventions, a service that Nashville tourism had neglected until then. The hospitality group was a modest, but highly successful division of the Opryland USA properties of Gaylord Entertainment from the hotel's opening through the 1996 expansion of the hotel's almost 3,000 rooms and subsequent announcement of future Opryland Hotels in Florida, Texas and Washington, D.C..
In 1986, Gaylord purchased the rights to the long-running television series Hee Haw from its creators Peppiatt and Aylesworth. Gaylord continued to produce and distribute the show until it ended its run in 1997.
In 1997, in partnership with the Nashville Predators (NHL) hockey team (of which Gaylord Entertainment owned a minority share), the company purchased the naming rights to Nashville's new downtown arena, which became known as the Gaylord Entertainment Center. The agreement − originally signed for 20 years at a cost of $80 million − was canceled in 2005, but the name remained on the arena until 2007. Gaylord also divested its ownership share of the franchise.
New management in the early 2000s believed that Gaylord Entertainment's future lie solely in the management of the hospitality arm of the company. With the exception of the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, General Jackson Showboat, Wildhorse Saloon, and WSM radio in Nashville, all non-hotel businesses were abandoned or sold.
The hotels division was rebranded as "Gaylord Hotels" in 2000, with the company positioning it as a premium brand. The three previously-announced additional hotels were built. Three other hotels were planned for the areas of San Diego, Phoenix and Denver but were never built. Two other hotel properties were announced as acquisitions; however those were abandoned as well. Ten years after stating that the company's future was in the hospitality and convention business, the same management team reversed course, stating the company could not succeed in managing its hotels.
The company sold the Gaylord Hotels brand to Marriott International in the spring of 2012, completing its transition from a media conglomerate that once owned cable networks, theme parks, television and radio stations, restaurants, giant retail chains, newspapers, sports teams, Internet portals, record companies, as well as film, television, and animation studios into a simple real estate holding company. As a result of the sale, the company lost the rights to use the Gaylord name, resulting in the change to Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc.
In the 1990s, Gaylord Entertainment was Tennessee's second largest private employer; as of 2015, Ryman Hospitality now employs fewer than 100 full-time workers.
Conversion to Real Estate
In May 2012, Marriott International agreed to purchase the Gaylord Hotels division and the rights to manage Gaylord's four hotels, the General Jackson Showboat, the Wildhorse Saloon, and Gaylord Springs Golf Links for $210 million in cash. The company changed its name from Gaylord Entertainment to Ryman Hospitality Properties when the deal was finalized in October. According to Chairman and CEO Colin Reed, Ryman will continue to operate and manage the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium and WSM radio for the time being, stating that they are "iconic" assets. The conversion cost more than 300 corporate employees their jobs with the company. The purchase came just as the poison pill put forth by the board of directors expired, opening the company up for a hostile takeover.
Robert Rowling, the Texas billionaire who owns TRT Holdings, bought 14 percent of Gaylord stock in early 2008. Later that year, Gaylord rejected Rowling's bid to increase TRT's stake to 30 percent, saying there would be no benefit to the company and also noting TRT's potential conflict of interest, since TRT owns the Omni Hotel chain, which competes with Gaylord for conference and convention business. In management's effort to see the Marriott plan to succeed, the company paid $185 million on August 7, 2012 for almost half of the shares owned by billionaire Robert Rowling and launched an offering to help him dispose of his remaining 5.6 million shares. Rowling had previously opposed the Marriott purchase saying, "The company can go on a diet without having surgery. We would rather see Gaylord maintain the status quo and implement the savings without permanently impairing the value of the Gaylord Properties by encumbering them with the onerous, long term Marriott Agreement." Omni would go on to open its first Nashville hotel in September 2013, adjacent to the downtown Music City Center.
Facilities owned and operated by Ryman Hospitality Properties include:
Facilities owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties, but managed by Marriott International, include:
- Gaylord Hotels
- Gaylord Springs Golf Links
- General Jackson Showboat
- Inn at Opryland
- Wildhorse Saloon
- Gaylord Rockies (opening late 2018)
Previously owned properties and ventures include:
- Opryland USA theme park
- Fiesta Texas Theme Park (minority interest)
- WKY Radio, Oklahoma City
- ResortQuest International, Inc.
- Bass Pro Shops' Outdoor World (minority interest)
- Acuff-Rose Music
- Grand Ole Opry Tours
- Opryland River Taxis
- Opryland Productions
- Opryland Theatricals
- Corporate Magic
- The Nashville Network
- CMT Europe
- Nashville Predators (minority interest)
- Opry Mills (minority interest)
- Word Entertainment
- Gaylord Films
- Z Music Television (Christian music video channel)
- The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers
- Gaylord Digital
In 1999, Gaylord Entertainment purchased the naming rights to the major downtown arena in Nashville (home of the Nashville Predators). The agreement was terminated in 2005, but the Gaylord Entertainment Center name remained on the building until March 16, 2007. The facility is now known as Bridgestone Arena.
Gaylord Entertainment also produced the long-running comedy/variety series Hee Haw (initially out of the studios of WTVF in Nashville) and distributed the program over their television stations and in syndication. Ryman Hospitality Properties, through a holding company, continues to hold the rights to the Hee Haw trademark and series.
Ryman Hospitaity's only present broadcast property, as noted above, is WSM (650 AM) in Nashville, a heritage country music station with a 50,000-watt clear-channel signal. Oklahoma Publishing acquired WSM as part of its purchase of the Grand Ole Opry and associated businesses in 1983.
Ryman, while it was a subsidiary of Oklahoma Publishing, owned several television and radio stations. The broadcasting subsidiary originated as the WKY Radiophone Company, named after its Oklahoma City flagship stations. In 1956 it became the WKY Television System, holding onto that moniker until 1975 when it took on the Gaylord Broadcasting Company name. Below are charts of stations formerly owned by Ryman's predecessor companies.
Stations are arranged in alphabetical order by state and city of license.
Note: ** indicates a station built and/or signed-on by Oklahoma Publishing/Gaylord Broadcasting.
|AM Stations||FM Stations|
|City of license/Market||Station||Years owned||Current ownership|
|Oklahoma City||WKY 930||1928–2002||Cumulus Media|
|WKY-FM 98.9||1947–1952||defunct, went silent in 1952|
frequency now used by KYIS
|Portland, Oregon||KYTE 970
|Nashville||WSM-FM 95.5||1983–2003||Cumulus Media|
|WWTN 99.7||1995–2003||Cumulus Media|
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel
|Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Montgomery – Selma, Alabama||WSFA||12 (12)||1955–1959||NBC affiliate owned by Raycom Media|
|Denver||KLZ-TV **||7 (7)||1953–1954||ABC affiliate, KMGH-TV, owned by E. W. Scripps Company|
|Tampa – St. Petersburg||WTVT||13 (12)||1956–1987||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|New Orleans||WVUE||8 (28)||1977–1987||Fox affiliate owned by Raycom Media|
|Lorain – Cleveland||WUAB||43 (28)||1977–1989||primary CW affiliate, secondary MyNetworkTV affiliate owned by Raycom Media|
|Oklahoma City||WKY-TV **||4 (27)||1949–1976||NBC affiliate, KFOR-TV, owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Fort Worth – Dallas||KTVT||11 (19)||1962–1999||CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|Houston||KHTV **||39 (38)||1967–1995||The CW affiliate, KIAH, owned by Tribune Broadcasting|
|Tacoma – Seattle||KSTW||11 (11)||1974–1997||The CW affiliate owned by CBS Corporation|
|Milwaukee||WVTV||18 (18)||1966–1996||The CW affiliate owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group|
- "Marriott Completes Acquisition Of Gaylord Hotels Brand And Hotel Management Company". PRnewswire.com. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- De Lombaerde, Geert (September 25, 2012). "Reformed Gaylord REIT to take Ryman name". Nashville Post. Retrieved October 3, 2012.
- ,"Robert Rowling is the billionaire Dallas doesn't know", August 24, 2008, accessed August 29, 2010
- |"Gaylord rejects Omni owner's proposal", December 3, 2008, accessed August 29, 2010
- "Opryland changes hands." Broadcasting, July 11, 1983, pg. 24[permanent dead link]
- "By a new name." Broadcasting, July 7, 1975, pg. 30[permanent dead link]