Speedway Motorsports Inc. has sold out 2009 Cup entitlements

Speedway Motorsports Inc. has all of its NASCAR Sprint Cup race sponsorships sold out for 2009 as it works to keep revenues up in these tough economic times.
SMI President Marcus Smith and Chief Financial Officer Bill Brooks announced that all of their 12 Sprint Cup races had been sold while discussing their third-quarter results with financial analysts Wednesday.
“In the corporate arena, we still continue to see strong business and interest from our partners and new partners,” Smith said.
They mentioned that the only attendance sellout since July has been the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which local officials had indicated was a sellout, had a “near-capacity” crowd, Smith said.
Recent race weekends at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway were “weaker than prior years,” and concession sales also were weaker, Brooks said. Bad weather, higher souvenir costs absorbed by the company and an increase in advertising expenses, property taxes and utility costs have all impacted the company’s bottom line, Brooks said. Revenues are expected to be down 10-15 percent for the final quarter of 2008, Brooks said.
“The economy and consumer sentiment is certainly playing a role, which means that admissions hold steady in some areas and [are] down in others,” Smith said. “We’ve seen more walkups when the weather is good.”

Most tracks have suffered in these economic times. Dover Motorsports reported last week total operating profit was down 8 percent because of a decrease of about 10 percent in admissions revenue for its Cup race in September.
Dover typically is in the rumor mill as a property that might be sold, and SMI executives were asked if they were interested considering Dover’s current stock price, which was $1.90 at the end of the day Wednesday, compared to high of $7.68 in the past year.
SMI’s stock price also has taken a dip in recent months, closing at $15.55 on Wednesday with a high of $38.77 in the past year.
“I’m not sure that even if we had interest that [Dover] was truly for sale even at a higher price much less this lower price,” Brooks said. “Obviously we monitor it on a regular basis, and perhaps an opportunity will present itself. … It’s pretty clear that we’re on the record that we’d be interested in looking at either Dover or [privately owned] Pocono.”
Brooks said SMI should complete its next purchase – that of Kentucky Speedway – by the end of December. He said he did not expect a hearing in the Kentucky Speedway antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. until the spring and a ruling a few months after. NASCAR has told SMI that it won’t even consider putting a Cup race at Kentucky until the litigation is resolved.

from scenedaily.com