NASCAR ticket sales see smaller drop in 2013

adunn@charlotteobserver.com dscott@charlotteobserver.comMay 23, 2014 

Ticket revenues at NASCAR tracks continued to decline in 2013, but at a slower rate than in previous years, federal security filings show.

Attendance at NASCAR’s three publicly traded companies – which host 35 of the 38 race weekends (36 points races and two special events) – dropped for a sixth consecutive year:

• Admission revenue at Charlotte-based Speedway Motorsports Inc., fell 8.6 percent to $106 million. That’s an improvement from an 11 percent decline in 2012.

• International Speedway Corp., the country’s largest track operator and owner of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, lost 4.6 percent of its admission revenue to $129.8 million after losing 6 percent in 2012.

• Delaware’s Dover Motorsports, which lost nearly a quarter of its admissions revenue for its two NASCAR race weekends in 2012, had a decline of 8.7 percent to $9.5 million.

Overall, revenues of $245.4 million are down 47 percent from their peak of $467.4 million in 2007.

The slow in the decline might be attributed to ticket prices that have generally held steady in NASCAR the past few years. Track operators are also trying new ways to improve the fan experience, including massive HD televisions at SMI tracks in Charlotte and Texas, a carnival-like “fan zone” outside the Charlotte track, a fan-friendly renovation at Daytona and improved wireless coverage at tracks.

“We have seen some signs of improvement in a few of our markets, so there is cause for cautious optimism,” ISC spokesman Lenny Santiago said in an email. “(That’s) highlighted by the recent sellout at Auto Club Speedway (in Fontana, Calif.). We also continue to invest in the fan experience across the company. ‘Daytona Rising’ is proceeding on schedule and we are making progress on our video board strategy throughout our other facilities – it debuted in Talladega earlier this spring.”

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