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NASCAR Hall of Fame faces $4.8M in budget cuts
The NASCAR Hall of Fame had its budget cut by nearly $4.8 million on Wednesday as the board that oversees its performance opted to base its budget on a worst-case scenario of 250,000 visitors from July 2010 to June 2011.

In the last month, executives from the hall of fame had presented budgets to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority proposing cuts of $4 million based on 350,000 visitors to the one adopted, which includes $4,784,041 in cuts based on attendance of 250,000. For the first five months of the July-June fiscal year, the hall of fame has had 119,576 attendees and is running a deficit of $509,703, $342,871 from royalties due to NASCAR that NASCAR agreed to defer until the hall of fame turns a profit.

For the full year, the new budget projects a deficit of $1,288,383, which will be covered by the reserves of the CRVA, the city board that operates the hall with a license from NASCAR. Originally, the hall of fame was projected to make $792,839 – making the new bottom line more than $2 million less than the original budget.

“We felt like we should budget on the conservative area from an attendance and revenue standpoint … and be very aggressive in our expense reductions,” Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley told the board Wednesday.

The original budget was finalized last April, before the opening of the hall in mid-May. The hall of fame, which had originally based its budget on 600,000 visitors, had projected to take in $11.5 million in admissions revenue but sliced that to $4.9 million based on the new projections.

The biggest spending cuts will come from exhibit contract services, which will be cut by nearly $1.3 million, and marketing and promotions, which will be cut $826,292 and will include less radio, television and billboard advertising. The hall of fame will still have rotating exhibits in its “great hall” area and will change the exhibits in the inductee area as five new members are inducted each year. But it won’t update the “race week” area and other areas that would have been updated to correlate with industry changes, Kelley said.

NASCAR has dropped its $100,000 required donation to the NASCAR Foundation.

“We had zero operating experience so we had some contingency items built in for marketing and exhibits that we will not be spending,” Kelley said. “We had a couple of staff positions that we will not be filling, but we won’t be laying off any full-time staff. We identified opportunities as we’ve been open, where we can reduce the number of part-time staff.”  Scene Daily

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