NASCAR track ticket revenues down in 2016

The two major public companies host NASCAR races have seen ticket revenues drop about 10 percent for 14 events since the Daytona 500. Speedway Motorsports, in releasing Wednesday its 2016 financials through June, showed its admissions revenue down 11 percent this year. That includes its seven major NASCAR weekends, but it also includes some impact from the suspended IndyCar race at Texas in June that will be completed in August.

Earlier this month, International Speedway Corp. reported its ticket sales were down 8.3 percent for March through May. "[Improving attendance] is a combination of the improved racing that fans are being [able] to see and enjoy and also more certainty in the economy — particularly, the middle class needs to feel more certain and confident in their economic position to travel more," SMI CEO Marcus Smith told financial analysts in a conference call Wednesday morning.

SMI showed a $25.6 million profit through June and said its March estimate of earnings of $0.90-$1.10 per share for 2016 is still an accurate estimate for the year. In addition to a decrease in general ticket sales, SMI saw decreased demand for suites and corporate entertainment as well as fewer track rentals, Brooks said. The June race at Sonoma also saw a decrease in revenues in part, Brooks said, because last year was Jeff Gordon's final race at the track that is just 15 miles from Gordon's hometown.

While attendance has dropped, tracks have seen an increase in television revenues. SMI reported a 3.1 percent increase. Combined with ISC, the tracks reported television net income of $199.6 million from the NASCAR television contract. Their ticket sales, which include other racing events (NHRA, IndyCar, sports-car races, etc.) totaled $107.4 million for the first half of their fiscal years.

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