SBD/Issue 232/Facilities & Venues

NASCAR HOF May Face Decline In Attendance With Summer's End

NASCAR HOF May See Decline In
Attendance With The Start Of School Year

The NASCAR HOF may find it "difficult to meet" attendance projects during the rest of the year because the museum's "strongest period of attendance may be the summer, when kids are out of school and people take vacations," according to a front-page piece by Harrison & Hall Singe of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The HOF "projected 800,000 visitors in its first 14 months," but if the HOF's average attendance continues for the rest of the year, it "would have 410,000 visitors." American Association of Museums Senior Manager Dewey Blaton said that "sports halls of fame are dependent on the summer" in part because they are "dependent on tourists." Harrison & Hall Singe report the HOF "is noticeably less busy, as fewer people are coming compared with earlier in the summer." Attendance in July averaged 1,075 people a day, while the first week of August "drew 844 people a day." The HOF "will get a boost in October, when Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the Bank of America 500." It will have "extended hours in the week leading up to the race, and may draw thousands of additional fans." It is also "counting on getting visitors who are in Charlotte for conventions." NASCAR HOF Exec Dir Winston Kelley last week said that "the hall is considering how to celebrate events like Halloween and Christmas to attract visitors" and indicated that he "wants 2011 Hall of Fame nominees to make appearances." Kelley also said that the HOF "will stop selling time-specific tickets for the hall, which are used to control crowds." He noted that with the exception of race week, "they aren't needed ... and could make potential visitors believe the hall will be crowded" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/17).

RAMPING UP LOCAL MARKETING EFFORTS: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg noted the HOF will soon be launching an ad campaign from marketing consultant Wray Ward aimed at drawing local and regional traffic to the HOF. The HOF this week also begins a "back-to-school promotion that will offer students half-off admission with the donation of school supplies." More "themed promotions are planned around NASCAR races and holidays." Spanberg wrote, "Still, it looks like a long slog, and one complicated by NASCAR's ongoing decline as a sport." Kelley "acknowledges some rough patches for the sport" but remains "convinced the hall of fame is laying the foundation for bigger crowds in the months ahead." Kelley: "Any business right now would like to have more customers. We're all in that economic time where we're competing for discretionary dollars. We're building up our brand" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/13 issue).

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