Lagging ticket sales for NASCAR and other auto racing circuits are forcing race organizers to get creative as they offer last-minute deals in an attempt to fill the seats — even if it means annoying or alienating fans and season ticket holders who paid full price months earlier.
Fans who bought well in advance of the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta Friday, July 8 paid as much as $65. But fans who now enter the promo code “SPEED” on the Speedway’s Web site can now get the most expensive ticket in the house for $20. And fans who buy their tickets off the Speedway’s Facebook page can get them at up to 75 percent off the list price.
“You buy tickets and you’re paying full price,” Kentucky Speedway season ticket holder Michael Sallee told WAVE3.com in Kentucky. “And then all of a sudden they’re discounting them. You know, who wouldn’t be upset?”
NASCAR has been impacted nationwide by slow ticket sales, which have been attributed to the usual 1-2 punch of high gas prices and a stagnant economy. The Bristol (Tennessee) and Talladega (Alabama) raceways have each seen a decline in attendance for their 2011 slate of races while the Dover (Delaware) “spring weekend” was held to less-than-capacity crowds. In addition, Brickyard 400 organizers expect a smaller crowd than last year for the race Sunday, July 31.
Dover hopes to boost ticket sales for the 2012 season and keep fans happy in the process by offering drastic reductions well in advance of race day. Fans who buy tickets to the “spring weekend” series of races next June 1-3 before the “preferred period deadline” of August 24, 2011 will pay just $45 per ticket, down almost 50 percent from the 2007 price tag of $84 and, according to the Speedway, the lowest prices for the spring weekend in more than 10 years.
In addition, Dover will offer a “Design-It-Yourself” payment plan in which fans who put a 25 percent deposit on tickets by August 24 can decide how they want to spread out the rest of their payments.
Fans can still save on tickets for the spring weekend as late as May 18, 2012. After that, prices will revert back to their 2011 levels.
“In this current economy, we realized the need to help out our most loyal customers and make it even easier for new fans to experience the Monster Mile,” Denis McGlynn, the president and CEO of Dover Motorsports Inc., said in a statement issued by the Speedway. “Fans who purchase tickets for the races here in Dover deserve an opportunity to lock in the best price in advance of the event. If they are willing to commit to us early, we are willing to commit our best price to them.”