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ISC, Dover Motorsports report fourth quarter, 2017 financial data

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International Speedway Corp. reported Thursday that its revenue for last year increased to its highest level since 2010, driven by corporate and broadcast partnerships.

Full ISC report here.

ISC reported total revenue of $671.4 million. Last year, ISC’s revenue was $661 million.

ISC reported four sellouts at its tracks in 2017 — the Daytona 500, Watkins Glen, the fall Phoenix Raceway event and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The company had three sellouts in 2016.

Admission revenue for the year declined 1.6 percent. For the fourth quarter of the year (September to November), admission revenue increased 1 percent. That period included eight Cup, six Xfinity, five Truck, two ARCA and one IndyCar event.

ISC reported “some softness” in admissions for the fall Kansas and Martinsville races. Talladega and Phoenix (now ISM Raceway) and Homestead-Miami Speedway, had “strong performances,” while results for Darlington, Richmond and Chicago were “in line with expectations.”

ISC stated that the company is trending toward another sellout for next month’s Daytona 500.

ISC reported that research has shown that the “vast majority of 18- to 34-year-old fans favor the new stage racing format.’’

ISC stated that its initiatives continue to target new and lapsed customers and strategies include “value-added options that enhance the live motorsports experience, including exclusive VIP hospitality experiences with drivers appearances and Q&A sessions.’’ 

ISC also revealed the average ticket price for Cup events last year. Here’s how it compares to recent years.

2017 — $92.19 average ticket price

2016 — $90.12

2015 — $86.10

2014 — $85.82

— Dover Motorsports also issued its report for the fourth quarter and all of 2017.

The company reported its fall 2017 race weekend was comparable with the previous year, noting higher broadcast revenue was offset by “slightly lower event related revenue and higher purses and marketing expenses.’’ Full Dover report here.

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ISC cites absence of Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr., Tony Stewart as impacting admission revenue in 2016

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International Speedway Corp. cited the impact of Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart missing races as among the reasons for a decline in admission revenue last year at its tracks.

International Speedway Corp. reported its fourth quarter and yearly earnings Thursday morning in a conference call with investor analysts.

Gordon retired after the 2015 season but returned in 2016 after Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a concussion and drove in select races. Earnhardt missed the final 18 races of the season. Stewart was injured before the season and missed the opening eight races last year.

ISC reported that its fourth-quarter admissions revenue was down about 9.3 percent from the previous year. The track hosted Cup races at Darlington Raceway, Richmond International Raceway, Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, Martinsville Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earnhardt missed all of those races. Gordon drove in only three of those events (Darlington, Richmond and Martinsville). Stewart competed in each event.

For the year, admissions revenue was down about 5 percent for the company.

“We believe several factors influenced the softened attendance of 2016,’’ said John Saunders, president of ISC, during Thursday’s conference call. “The impact of Jeff Gordon’s retirement was underestimated, which was compounded with Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. missing races throughout the season. The lack of activation from the outgoing series sponsor (Sprint) and the distraction of the presidential election season further exacerbated the situation.’’

ISC announced on the call that three of its 19 Cup races sold out in 2016 — the Daytona 500, Watkins Glen and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Saunders said that advance sales for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500 were at comparable levels to last year’s event at this time. ISC is “optimistic” the race will sell out again. 

Saunders also said that advance ticket sales for upcoming races at Auto Club Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway were “trending slightly ahead” compared to last year.

Saunders noted the impact on corporate sponsorship Monster Energy would have as new series sponsor for NASCAR’s Cup Series.

“It is important to note that 2016 was the last year of our revenue-included agreements between ISC and Sprint for various inventory and activation rights at ISC racetracks,’’ Saunders said. “These agreements were negotiated in the mid-2000s, pre-recession.

“While we currently expect to have similar agreements in place with Monster Energy, we anticipate the economics of the agreements will result in a reset for 2017.’’

Saunders estimates that ISC’s corporate sales will decline by 1 percent in 2017  “due to the reset.’’ Excluding the reset for the Monster deals, ISC forecasts a 1 to 2 percent increase in corporate sales.

In other items:

— Three of ISC’s 20 Cup races this year either have the event sponsorship open or yet to be announced.

— Three of ISC’s 14 Xfinity races this year either have the event sponsorship open or yet to be announced.

— Average ticket price for a Cup event at an ISC track in the fourth quarter declined to $79.92, down from $80.36 for the same quarter a year earlier.

— For the full year, the average ticket price for a Cup event at an ISC track was $90.12, an increase of 5.4 percent. ISC officials cited Daytona’s pricing as a reason for the increase.

— On new series sponsor Monster Energy, Saunders said: “We’re encouraged. Monster Energy speaks to a younger demographic, which is promising for us. … They’re all about fun and activation. … They’re thinking outside of the box, and I think it is going to bring a whole new live entertainment component to the Cup weekends.’’

— On the enhanced formats that NASCAR announced this week, Saunders said: “What we’ve seen from fans is overwhelmingly positive.’’

— For the full report for International Speedway Corp. go here.

— Also, Dover Motorsports Inc., issued its earnings report Thursday. Dover also reported lower admissions revenue. The company plans to spend about $300,000 during the first quarter of 2017 to remove portions of the grandstand. The company also announced that the closing of the sale of Nashville Superspeedway should take place in the second quarter of 2017. For more on Dover’s report, go here.

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Nashville Superspeedway sold to real estate development company

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Dover Motorsports, Inc., which owns Dover International Speedway, has announced it has sold Nashville Superspeedway and “some related equipment and assets ” to a real estate development company.

DMI has sold the 1.3-mile track in Lebanon, Tennessee, to the Panattoni Development Company, which specializes in “industrial, office and build-to-suit projects” for $27.5 million in cash.

Closing of the sale, after “customary due diligence and closing conditions, including zoning approvals,” is expected early in 2017.

Nashville has not hosted a NASCAR event since 2011, when it held its last Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series races. The track was the site of 21 Xfinity races and 13 Truck races beginning in 2001.

The track also hosted the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2001-2008.

Carl Edwards won the last Xfinity Series race at Nashville, the 2011 Federated Auto Parts 300.