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ThatsRacin.com


NASCAR hall posts largest monthly loss

- sharrison@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Feb. 09, 2011

The NASCAR Hall of Fame lost $327,041 in December, the largest monthly deficit since the hall opened in May.

The losses were somewhat expected, as December was originally projected to be a slow month for the $200 million racing museum. In the original budget, the hall was expected to lose $118,171 for the month.

Attendance for December was 14,636.

For the first six months of the fiscal year, which began July 1, the hall has lost $836,745.

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which operates the city-owned hall, has scrapped its original budget. It has slashed expenses and now projects the hall will lose $1.288 million for the fiscal year.

The CRVA has said that it will cover the hall’s loss this year from its own reserves. It’s unclear how the CRVA would handle future losses, but it would likely ask the Charlotte City Council to use reserves from hospitality taxes to pay for any shortfall.

The city and the CRVA have said that general fund tax dollars won’t be used.

From the hall’s opening May 11 through the end of December – a period of just under eight months – total attendance has been 197,737. The first-year projection was for 800,000 people, but it appears the hall will attract between 250,000 and 275,000 people.

Hall officials have said they need to attract 350,000 people to break even.

In January, the hall held a free open house for one week, for two hours a day in the afternoon. The open house attracted nearly 12,000 visitors but it’s unclear if the hall has been able to make money off the visitors from food or merchandise sales.

The CRVA also manages the city’s owned Bojangles Coliseum and Ovens Auditorium, which are also struggling this year.

In December, Bojangles lost $105,388, compared with a budgeted loss of $45,463.

Ovens fared better. It made an operating profit of $32,885, compared with its December projection of a surplus of $27,576.

The city gives the CRVA a subsidy of up to $597,026 to pay for deficits at Ovens and Bojangles. For the first six months of the fiscal year, Ovens and Bojangles have lost $777,095.

The CRVA has said it will use its reserves to pay for Ovens and Bojangles losses at exceed the city subsidy.

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