ISC cutting seating capacity to avoid embarrassment
Too many fans have given up on NASCAR, so International Speedway Corp. plans to continue its trend of decreasing seating capacity at its racetracks to avoid the embarrassment of thousands of empty seats.
The plan was announced by ISC officials Wednesday when discussing its recent financial results. “It’s the age-old supply-and-demand concept,” ISC President John Saunders said during a conference call with financial analysts. “It’s what we built this company on.
“We’ll be talking on future calls about some capacity reductions with the idea of bringing a tremendous amount of sense of urgency back into the ticket-selling model so if you do get a negative weather forecast or rain for that matter, you’ve really hedged the risk.” At Talladega Superspeedway in May, the track’s ticket sales were down 23 percent entering the week of the race, Saunders said. With an unfavorable weather forecast, the track didn’t meet its ticket sales from a year ago.
Reducing seats is nothing new for ISC, a publicly traded company whose majority of stock is owned by the NASCAR-controlling France family.
ISC already has announced an overhaul of the grandstands at Daytona International Speedway. It will eliminate backstretch seating and increase the size of seats from 18 inches to 20-21 inches, which will decrease capacity from 147,000 to 101,000 (not including suites).
Talladega, which has placed banners over thousands of seats, has a capacity of 108,000, not including suites, down from 143,000.
Five years ago, Daytona had 168,000 seats, so 101,000 represents a 40% reduction in popularity. To find out why all motorsports except for F1 is down significantly in popularity, read this AR1.com article.