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SBD/August 1, 2012/Facilities
ISC To Install Cellphone Towers At 12 Tracks; NASCAR Looks To Improve Fan Experience
Published August 1, 2012
MAKING IT PERSONAL: USA TODAY's Dustin Long notes to "combat sagging attendance, NASCAR track operators are adding personal touches to make races more enjoyable for fans -- and to keep them from staying home and watching on TV." From "concerts to paved parking lots to improved Wi-Fi, tracks are enhancing entertainment options to fill their increasingly empty grandstands." Based on NASCAR crowd estimates, attendance for Sprint Cup points races "fell 8.5% from 2009 to 2011." Attendance through the first 20 points races this season is "down 2.4% from a year ago." SMI President & COO Marcus Smith said that fans "wanted more access to drivers, more family-friendly experiences and more comfort." He said that SMI had "spent between $30 million and $80 million a year on track upgrades in recent years" (USA TODAY, 8/1).
SPARKING INTEREST: CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS' Danny Ecker noted as NASCAR "struggles to gain ground in the Chicago market, the racing series and Chicagoland Speedway are trying to spark more Windy City interest in its events." Part of the effort "to turn that around is coming from stunts like the one NASCAR held outside the House of Blues [last] month, bringing together marketing heads from the Joliet track, sponsors, NASCAR itself and Sprint Cup driver Kyle Busch to launch its new 'NASCAR Contenders Live' event." The Sprint Cup Geico 400 was previously held in July, but Chicagoland Speedway President Scott Paddock said the race was moved to the front of the Chase For the Cup lineup in '11 "to give it the big event platform that it deserves" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 7/30).