SBD/August 27, 2014/Facilities

ISC Could Be Looking At Further Seating Reductions At Some Of Its NASCAR Tracks

Tracks such as Talladega have reduced seating capacity by nearly half
ISC "might not be done removing grandstand seats at its 13 speedways due to the decline in NASCAR's popularity," according to Jim Peltz of the L.A. TIMES. The company already has "slashed the number of seats at its venues -- in some cases by up to 46% -- in the last 18 months." ISC Vice Chair & CEO Lesa France Kennedy when asked if the company was done with its reductions said, "Maybe not. We'll see how that goes." She added over time there will be more seats removed, but that is "dependent on the market" where each track is located. Peltz writes after ISC "aggressively expanded as NASCAR's popularity climbed" around 10 years ago, it discovered it has "far too many empty seats at NASCAR races." That has "not only hurt admissions revenue but limited ISC's ability to raise ticket prices." Auto Club Speedway was cut from 92,000 seats in '09 to its current capacity of 68,000, a drop of 26%. Elsewhere, Talladega Superspeedway reduced capacity by 45% (143,000 to 78,000 seats) and Michigan Int'l Speedway was cut by 46% (131,000 to 71,000). SMI also has "struggled with excess seating capacity." France Kennedy said that in "some cases, ISC has converted the areas where seats were removed into fan zones or sponsor areas with food, exhibits and entertainment aimed at enhancing the racing event for the fans" (L.A. TIMES, 8/27).

LIFE'S A BEACH: The developers of the One Daytona mixed-use complex that is set to break ground later this year said that France Kennedy "has been actively involved -- both weighing in on the design standards for One Daytona as well as personally participating in efforts to recruit national retailers, restaurants and hotels." Jacoby Development Managing Dir Brian Leary: "To say she’s rolling up her sleeves would be an understatement." In Daytona Beach, Clayton Park noted both the Daytona Rising project and the $289M initial phase for One Daytona -- which "will include a 12-screen Cobb Theatres movie complex called the Daytona Theatre, a Bass Pro Shops store and a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel -- are scheduled for completion" in '16 (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 8/23).

JUMP IN BROADCAST REVENUE: ISC will see its broadcast revenue increase to $316M a year in '15 courtesy of NASCAR’s 10-year, $8.2B rights deal with Fox and NBC. The total represents a 3.8% increase from the $304M ISC will receive this year under NASCAR’s expiring TV contracts with Fox and ESPN. The TV revenue it receives will increase annually by an average of 3.9% over the life of the deal. In a public statement issued today, ISC said that the “sport’s only shared revenue model” will stay the same under the new TV deal with tracks receiving 65% of revenue, teams receiving 25% and NASCAR receiving 10%. That split has been criticized by several team owners in recent years, and NASCAR has been asked several times about whether or not it would change under the new contract. But the sanctioning body has said repeatedly it doesn’t plan to change the split. France Kennedy in a statement said, “Broadcast rights represent ISC’s largest revenue segment and these recent deals provide us the long-term visibility to continue investing in our business to the benefit of our fans, partners and local communities while continuing to build shareholder value" (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).
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