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NASCAR Hall of Fame
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Turnout, projections diverge at NASCAR Hall

- sharrison@charlotteobserver.com
Wednesday, Jun. 08, 2011

Attendance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame fell 30 percent in May 2011 compared with the same month a year earlier – the first year-over-year comparison for the city-owned attraction.

Such a decline isn’t a surprise, and similar attractions report attendance declines once the initial excitement wears off.

But the hall’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year projects the opposite. Instead of revenue declining from ticket sales, the hall projects a nearly 20 percent increase.

A year ago, the hall attracted 35,090 people for the 21 days it was open in May. In May 2010, the hall attracted 25,014 people, according to estimates released Wednesday.

The hall projects admissions revenue will be $4.9 million for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. It projects admissions revenue to be $4.2 million for the current fiscal year.

That $700,000 increase helped the hall show only a $1.1 million operating deficit for the upcoming year. That deficit will be covered by a subsidy from the city of Charlotte, according to the CRVA. The subsidy will come from a 2 percent tax on hotel and motel room occupancy that’s dedicated towards the hall.

Hall spokesperson Kimberly Meesters said the optimistic ticket revenue projections are a “stretch goal” designed to push staff members to keep improving.

If the numbers don’t pan out, the hall can adjust its budget, she said.

Despite struggles in its first year, CRVA board members and staff were upbeat about the hall. Executive director Winston Kelley said the hall has had a “direct spend” benefit of $40 million in its first year.

That is based on surveys of how much people spent during their visits to the hall.

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