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Report: Nascar tracks facing up to US$175m in lost ticket revenue

Covid-19 restrictions saw only 15 of 36 races in 2020 held with fans.

17 November 2020 Steven Impey

Getty Images

  • Bristol could only host around 20k fans for July’s All-Star race
  • More than 101k attended Daytona 500 sell-out pre-lockdown

Nascar’s racing tracks lost between US$150 million and US$175 million in total ticket revenue during the US stock car racing series’ disrupted 2020 season, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal (SBJ).

Nascar has not published its annual financial results since it purchased and privatised track operator International Speedway Corp (ISC) last year, but in 2018 the sport brought in US$193.6 million in combined ticketing revenue.

With the coronavirus pandemic keeping fans out of venues, the SBJ reports a ‘significant’ drop in returns since Nascar’s post lockdown restart at Darlington Raceway, in South Carolina, on 17th May. By the end of the 2020 season, Nascar hosted spectators at 15 of its 36 races.

As it stands, tickets for the 2021 Daytona 500 are on sale at full capacity, though the SBJ reports that Nascar is ‘budgeting for a reduced capacity’. With the pandemic still not under control, it is likely that Nascar will have to keep a cap on fans for the early stages of the 2021 campaign

The series’ last sell-out crowd came at Daytona in February, with track operator Speedway Motorsports welcoming 101,500 spectators to the Florida venue.

Bristol Motor Speedway, in Tennessee, welcomed Nascar’s biggest post-lockdown crowd, with more than 20,000 fans attending the 160,000-capacity venue for the All-Star Race on 15th July. Some venues, such as Martinsville in Virginia which was only permitted to host 1,000 fans, were severely restricted.

Attendance for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway on 8th November was capped to 20 per cent capacity, which amounts to roughly 8,400 spectators.


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