NASCAR Tracks report big profits, even with attendance down

Ticket sales are down but profits are up for the racetracks that have NASCAR events. The tracks cleared more than $100 million in 2014. It sounds as if, even though they are spending money tearing down seats at many places and putting up seats at a couple of others, they have money they can spend on other projects.

There are two main track operators with NASCAR national races: International Speedway Corp., which has a majority of its stock owned by the NASCAR-owning France family, has 21 Cup events (including the Sprint Unlimited and Daytona 500 qualifying races); and Speedway Motorsports Inc., which has a majority of its stock owned by Bruton Smith, has 13 Cup events (including the All-Star Race). Dover Motorsports Inc., also a publicly traded company, has two. Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway are owned privately and aren't required to release their earnings.

ISC and Dover released their 2014 results in late January, and SMI released its results Wednesday. The three companies combined for $101.64 million in profits in 2014. Although the companies do have other events besides NASCAR (some NHRA races, some IndyCar races), NASCAR makes up 86% of ISC's revenues and, as of 2013, about 82% of SMI revenues.

Ever wonder why television gets to dictate so much? The tracks report that ticket sales were down 2.5% over the past year as they took in over $239 million in ticket sales. Meanwhile, they took in approximately $388 million in television revenues in 2014. That's right. They make much more money from the television contracts than they do from tickets sold. It wasn't that way 10 years ago, when the tracks took in approximately $450 million in ticket sales. Overall revenues were up 0.8% thanks to television revenue being up about 3.6-4.2% depending on the company. And the tracks reported that profits from core operations (when taking out various accounting measures) were up 2.6%. More at ESPN.com

Leave a Reply