SBD/Issue 227/Facilities & Venues

NASCAR HOF On Pace To Hit Only 50% Of First-Year Attendance Goal

Adults 18-24 Make Up Just 7% Of The
NASCAR HOF's Ticket Buyers

The NASCAR HOF "surpassed 100,000 visitors over the weekend, three months" after opening in Charlotte, putting the attraction on pace to "finish its first full year with attendance of 400,000 -- or half of the 800,000" estimated by HOF execs, according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority budget "anticipates attendance of 575,000" in Year 1, though HOF spokesperson Kimberly Meesters said that "pinpointing the actual attendance number necessary to meet revenue goals is difficult." The CRVA's budget for FY '11 projects $16.1M in revenue for the HOF, estimating admission revenue of $11.5M, with an "overall profit of $800,000 based on total expenses" of $15.3M. Spanberg noted the HOF has "sold annual memberships to residents of 47 states," and 70% of visitors "live 100 miles or more from Charlotte." While the museum "seems to have limited appeal for young adults between the ages of 18 to 24, who make up just 7% of ticket buyers, all other age groups are evenly balanced, including young families." In addition, "customer-satisfaction data collected by the hall of fame shows that 96% of 552 respondents say it meets or exceeds expectations." Despite those figures, a "closer look at the numbers reveals some cause for concern." Attendance in June "fell to 27,617 from 35,051 in May," and revenue for June "fell $500,000 below internal budget projections" of $1.2M (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/9). In Charlotte, Steve Harrison noted the HOF's $1.8M in revenue generated in May and June was $65,385 "more than it budgeted." HOF Exec Dir Winston Kelley said he is pleased that attendance is "steady." He added, "I’m not going to get into projections. I feel like we could have done a better job with a range of numbers, rather than one number. That was an upper-end number" (THATSRACIN.com, 8/9).

GRAND SLAM: July was a "record-setting month for Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, with 48,424 visitors, the highest single-month attendance in the museum's 14-year history." The museum eclipsed its "previous single-month high," 42,907 patrons in July '07, by nearly 13% (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 8/10).

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