Ticket revenue fell in 2014 at Speedway Motorsports, the operator of Charlotte Motor Speedway, as NASCAR fans continued to face economic challenges, the company’s CEO said Thursday.
Total revenue rose 1 percent to $484.3 million from the previous year, helped by increased television money, but admissions revenue fell 5 percent to $100.8 million.
“Our core fans have been particularly hard hit and certain markets are recovering slower than expected, with underemployment remaining a substantial headwind,” CEO Marcus Smith said in a statement. Poor weather also hurt attendance at races in the first half of 2014, the company said.
The company’s results included a depreciation expense related to previously disclosed plans to remove seats and suites at tracks in Atlanta, Charlotte and New Hampshire. The move aims to improve demand, pricing power and grandstand appearance on TV, the company said.
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The company estimated 2015 revenues would range from $450 million to $500 million, with the range reflecting “continuing negative impact of uncertain economic conditions.” But Smith said the economy appears to be improving, boosted by lower unemployment and gas prices.
NASCAR, stock car racing’s governing body, is privately held, but its two major track operators – Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach, Fla. – are public companies, offering a window into the sport’s financial health.
Speedway Motorsports reported $31.1 million profit in 2014, compared to a $6.5 million loss in 2013. The company had reduced interest expenses in 2014 and recorded a goodwill accounting charge in 2013.
For the fourth quarter, the company lost $12.9 million, compared with a gain of $50.4 million in the same period a year earlier. The company had an accelerated depreciation expense of $14.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, and an income tax benefit of $49.3 million in the same period in 2013.
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