By admin | November 30, 2013
By Richard Allen
The week of Thanksgiving is known for being incredibly busy for many people. The day before the holiday is known for being the busiest travel day of the year. Thanksgiving Day itself is known for for family, food and football. The day after the traditional Thursday happening is known for being the busiest shopping day of the year.
The time around Thanksgiving is also known for corporations releasing less than favorable news in hopes of it getting lost in the shuffle. Apparently NASCAR is not immune from such shenanigans.
Did you happen to notice all the news that came out around Thanksgiving? Yeah, they were hoping you didn’t.
Texas Motor Speedway started the holiday week of with the news that it would not attempt to sell its backstretch seating in 2014. The move, according to the track, was made to accommodate a new high-definition video board. But it is certainly worth noting that the 10,000 seats being taken out of the equation were not used for several events during the season and were sold at greatly reduced prices for Sprint Cup races.
The capacity of TMS is now reduced to 112,552.
But that’s not all. There was more news to be made public.
The Talladega Super Speedway joined in by announcing that it would reduce its overall seating capacity to 80,000 on Wednesday. That number is down from the listed capacity of 109,000 during the 2013 season. The giant track’s seating was said to be 147,000 in 2007 while the total attendance at that time was estimated at over 300,000.
To put this reduction in perspective, the seating capacity of the Bristol Motor Speedway is twice that of Talladega despite the fact that BMS is only one-fifth the size of the monster Alabama track.
Of course, these reductions at two of NASCAR’s premier tracks are being done in the name of improving the fan experience. Video screens will be more easily seen and sight lines will be improved. Funny how those video capabilities and sight lines weren’t so much of a concern ten years ago when those seats were being sold at full price.
I guess having a Black Friday type of price reduction on tickets other than those on the first ten rows of a track would not be a good idea for filling those empty seats. Better to just take them out.
Perhaps the strangest news of the holiday week came from NASCAR itself regarding the sanctioning body’s purchase of the Iowa Speedway. What’s so odd about this move?
The purchase was initially veiled in secrecy as the buyer’s identity was withheld for a short time. But on Wednesday(again the busiest travel day of the year), the new owner was revealed to be NASCAR. The oddity of the deal is that NASCAR is primarily owned by the France family. The first family of the sport is also the dominant share holder of International Speedway, Corp., which is their track owning arm.
So why did NASCAR want to buy a financially struggling race track? Why didn’t the France dominated company that actually owns race tracks buy it? Why was this a good business move for NASCAR but not for ISC(as is stated in The Sporting News article linked above).
Whatever the reasons, it would seem to be a safe bet that this news was not released on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by accident. Whether it be to protect the publically traded ISC’s balance sheet after that company has already decided to take on significant debt to give the Daytona International Speedway a facelift or something else, this just seemed to be a strange move.
I’m sure the answers will be forthcoming soon.
Topics: Articles |