International Speedway Corp. reported Tuesday that attendance was down about 7 percent on average for NASCAR Cup events at Phoenix, Auto Club Speedway and Martinsville, but officials are encouraged by increases in some younger demographics.
International Speedway Corp. owns 12 tracks that host NASCAR Cup events, including Daytona International Speedway. The company reported its first-quarter results in a conference call with investor analysts Tuesday. The first quarter covered only the Rolex 24, Daytona Speedweeks and the Ferrari World Finals.
John Saunders, president of ISC, stated that advance ticket sales for NASCAR Cup events at ISC tracks in the second quarter — Richmond, Talladega and Kansas — are down 7 percent.
“We’re seeing the rate of decline slow, which is good news,’’ Saunders said to investor analysts. “We’re just in this transition with new drivers coming online, younger drivers resonating with younger audiences. We’re very committed to the initiatives. We’re starting to see them bear fruit, particularly in the younger demographics.
“I would also point out that both in venue and on broadcast, for the first time, we’re seeing double-digit increases for the 18-34 (category). That bodes very well for us. Some bright spots there but a lot of work to do. We remain optimistic that we’re going to stabilize it and grow it from there.’’
Saunders highlighted some areas that have shown increases. He said TV viewership of the Daytona 500 increased about 5 percent from last year and was up 16 percent for males 18-34.
Saunders cited new series sponsor Monster Energy as helping increase the 18-34 numbers. Saunders also said the Daytona 500 saw an increase of about 5 percent in youth attending the event.
In other ISC matters:
— Saunders was asked if ISC is looking to move a Cup race from one track to another: “Currently, we don’t have any plans to realign a date from one facility to another.’’
— ISC stated that attendance and admission revenues were up for this year Daytona 500. The stands were sold out for a second consecutive year.
— The average ticket price for Cup events during the first quarter (Daytona) increased 3.5 percent to $165.
— ISC’s motorsports revenue in the first quarter was $103.5 million. ISC’s domestic TV broadcast and ancillary revenues were $62.7 million for the first quarter.
— ISC had a decrease of 1.6 percent in net admissions for its events in the first quarter of 2017 (Ferrari World Finals, Rolex 24 and Daytona Speedweeks)
— As of March, ISC states it had sold race entitlement sponsorships for all but three of its Cup events, all but two of its Xfinity events and all but one of its Camping World Truck events this season. At this time last year, ISC had not sold or announced entitlement sponsorships for one Cup and two Xfinity races. ISC expressed confidence at selling its race entitlements this year.
— ISC reiterated that it will spend up to $500 million on existing facilities from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2021. Included in that is the Phoenix Raceway redevelopment, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2018, the first phase in development at Richmond International Raceway and other improvements at other facilities. The Phoenix project is expected to cost $178 million.