|If it wasn't for TV revenue, NASCAR track owners ISC and SMI would be significantly down|
SMI saw admission revenue down 4% in Q1, which it attributed to lower overall attendance for its two NASCAR national series weekends. SMI Vice Chair & CFO Bill Brooks reported Atlanta Motor Speedway is up year-over-year in attendance for its sole NASCAR national series weekend, while Las Vegas was down. Overall, revenue was down in three of the four segments SMI tracks writes Adam Stern of Sportsbusinessdaily.
Admission revenue came in down 4%, from $15.4M in ’16 to $14.8M in ’17, largely due to lower aggregate attendance between the two races year-over-year.
The second revenue bucket — event-related revenue, which includes advertising, food and beverage and merchandise sales — saw a particularly large drop, down 12% from $21.7M in ’16 to $19.M in ’17. Brooks attributed this due in part to lower advertising revenue, which could be impacted by the title sponsor changeover from Sprint to Monster Energy, as Monster has less non-track-facing signage among other assets than Sprint had at most tracks.
As expected, broadcast revenue rose 4% from $37.4M in ’16 to $38.8M in ’17, while the last bucket, other operating revenue, was down 9% from $8.6M to $7.8M.
Total revenue came in this quarter at $80.3M, down 3% from $83.2M last year. SMI reported a $1.9M loss for the quarter overall, in part because of accelerated depreciation of retired assets, which in this case comes in the form of seating reductions at Charlotte, Kentucky and New Hampshire. The loss compares to a $861,000 net profit last year in Q1.
EARNHARDT COULD BOOST ATTENDANCE: Brooks and Smith hit on a couple different topics during prepared remarks and the subsequent Q&A session. Smith was asked about yesterday’s announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire from full-time Cup racing after this year, and said the company does expect that the news “will be inspiring to a lot of fans to come to races" this year, potentially providing a boost.