NASCAR was hit hard by America’s recession, but that doesn’t mean track owners aren’t making money — it’s just that they’ve had to be more creative to do so. While admissions sales have declined, broadcasting revenues have increased — and even with a slow economy there’s still lots of money to be made.
So let’s take a quick look at three ways NASCAR track owners bring in the revenue.
Race-day ticket sales
When the recession took the steam out of NASCAR ticket sales, International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ:ISCA) was one operator of several that reduced the seating capacity at some of its tracks to create more demand. At Daytona International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ:ISCA) reduced capacity by 46,000 — about a third of all seating — by ditching the back-stretch seats and increasing the size of existing ones.
But even with the decline, International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ:ISCA) made $66 million from tickets sales from January to May this year — but that’s down from almost $69 million from the same time last year. Likewise, Dover Motorsports, which operates Dover International Speedway Corporation (NASDAQ:ISCA) and Nashville Superspeedway, brought in $4.86 million in admission sales in the second quarter of this year — but that’s down from $5.32 million the same time last year.
With admissions sales on the decline — although still lucrative — track owners have looked to bring in additional revenue during events.
Although ticket sales are an important revenue stream for track owners, there are still other ways to make money. While not all of the companies that own NASCAR tracks report event-related revenue in the same way, this category can include things such as luxury suites, merchandise, concessions, and catering.
Tracks such as Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway — both owned by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE:TRK) — have luxury RV spots that provide a great view of the track, as well as TV feeds, wireless Internet, and a concierge — for a mere $15,000. The price includes things such as pre-race pit passes for the coveted Sprint Cup races and other special membership access.
Aside from entertaining racing fans, Dover Motorsports hosted the Firefly Music Festival at its Dover, Del., track back in June, which helped the company earn $4.64 million in event-related revenue in the first six months of this year — up by $559,000 from the previous year.