Amid NASCAR’s continued struggles with ratings and attendance, the salaries of executives at Concord-based Speedway Motorsports declined again last year.
Marcus Smith, 44, made just under $2.4 million in 2017, down from $2.44 million the prior year, according to a securities filing this week. Smith’s pay includes a base pay of $600,000, plus stock awards, a bonus and other compensation.
And Smith has seen his salary fall by nearly $1.5 million since 2015, when he was rewarded with 65,000 performance-based restricted stock units in conjunction with his promotion to CEO.
NASCAR has seen TV ratings and attendance numbers decline in recent years for a number of reasons, including the retirement of crowd favorites like Dale Earnhardt Jr., a slow economic recovery of the middle class and constantly changing rules.
This year’s Daytona 500, for instance, had fewer than 10 million viewers for the second time since 1985, according to Yahoo Sports. February’s QuikTrip 500 in Atlanta drew 5.6 million viewers, a 15 percent slump from a year ago.
SMI has looked to boost revenue through new streams, including hosting the well-attended “Battle of Bristol” football game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech in 2016 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Officials have said the game will likely return.
Marcus Smith replaced his father as CEO of SMI in early 2015. Bruton Smith, 91, remains executive chairman on SMI’s board and received a salary of $2.28 million last year, down from $2.35 million the year before.
SMI’s chief financial officer, William Brooks, saw his pay decline to $2.11 million last year, down from $2.15 million in 2016, the company reported.
SMI’s filing also showed that Marcus Smith’s “other” compensation includes $155,133 for personal use of private aircraft leased by Speedway Motorsports from Sonic Financial, a holding company owned by Smith’s father and SMI Chairman, Bruton Smith.
In a separate filing last week, SMI, which owns nine race tracks nationwide including the one in Concord, said total revenue fell 7.4 percent last year. Admissions-related revenue fell to $86.9 million, down from $90.6 million, but broadcasting revenue rose to $209.5 million from $201.8 million.
The company said 2016 and 2017 race seasons had an “unusually high number of event weekends with significant poor weather.”
SMI will hold its annual shareholders meeting at its headquarters on April 23.