SBJ/February 13-19, 2012/Events and Attractions

NASCAR hall deficits twice as high as expected

Deficits at the NASCAR Hall of Fame are twice as high as anticipated through the first half of the current fiscal year.

Those results were disclosed last week by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, operator of the city-owned racing museum. For the six months covering July through December, the hall of fame posted a deficit of $440,000, compared with the budgeted figure of $205,000. In December, the most recent month of financial data available, losses were slightly higher than expected, with an actual deficit of $172,000, compared with the anticipated $149,000.

The $200 million hall of fame opened in May 2010. During its first full fiscal year, the venue lost $1.5 million versus a projected profit of $800,000.

Its second fiscal year began July 1, 2011. Between July and December, attendance totaled 101,624, down 26 percent from the previous year.

Executives at the visitors authority have promised to deliver revamped plans and strategies later this year to improve the hall of fame’s financial performance. The deficits would be even worse if $327,000 in taxpayer subsidies for maintenance, repair and other costs were excluded from the results. That money comes from a dedicated hotel tax that helps pay for the cost of building the hall of fame.

Recent efforts to improve revenue and attendance include reduced ticket prices for area residents.

During December, attendance was 15,428, dipping from 16,136 a year ago. That slight decline marks the best comparison for the hall of fame in the eight months of available year-to-year monthly results.

Eric Spanberg writes for the Charlotte Business Journal, an affiliated publication.

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