NASCAR Hall falls short of July projections

NASCAR Hall falls short of July projections

NASCAR Hall falls short of July projections

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by Steve Harrison / Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Observer

Posted on September 9, 2010 at 8:39 AM

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NASCAR Hall of Fame said it generated $818,364 in revenue for July, less than the $1.65million it had projected for the month.

Despite generating less than half of the money expected, the hall said it finished the month with a small surplus of $90,196. Much of the surplus was because of bills arriving later than expected, and those expenses will probably show up in next month's financial report, said Kimberly Meesters, a hall of fame spokesperson.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame made $577,616 from ticket admissions from monthly attendance of 33,312 people. It also made $240,747 from other sources, including merchandise sales, hall rentals and a sponsorship payment of nearly $74,000.

The sponsorship payment will be sent to the city of Charlotte to repay a $5million construction loan.

When the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority produced its budget for fiscal year 2011, it projected the hall would end the month with a surplus of about $365,000.

The CRVA manages the hall of fame, and released the July financial numbers at its board meeting Wednesday morning.

With revenues less than projected, Meesters said Hall officials have been discussing ways to save money, though there have been no broad-based plans to cut expenses or reduce staff.

"We're talking openly about - what are good business decisions?" Meesters said. "Managers are going over their budgets."

The biggest reduction in budgeted expenses came from advertising. The hall expected to spend $385,000 on advertising, but instead spent less than $76,000.

Meesters said the advertising budget hasn't been cut, but an invoice for a new television commercial hasn't arrived yet.

The hall spent less than budgeted on salaries because of some open positions. It also spent less than budgeted on contract services, travel and entertainment, and utilities.

The hall of fame's "professional services" expenses were also lower than budgeted. Those expenses include sponsorship payments to the city of Charlotte, as well as royalty payments to NASCAR, which gets roughly 10 cents of each dollar the hall makes. When the hall generates less revenue than expected, its fees to NASCAR decline.

July's report is the first time the NASCAR Hall of Fame has released information on expenses. For the first two months of operation, in May and June, the hall said it had met revenue projections, but didn't release information on expenses.

The hall relies heavily on making money from ticket sales. July will probably be one its busiest months because of summer vacations and children being out of school.

If the hall of fame runs an operating deficit, the first remedy would probably be to cut expenses. After that, it could tap into a $24million reserve fund from the 2 percent hotel/motel occupancy tax.

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