International Speedway Corporation (ISC) doesn't believe in slow and steady. The company is the top motorsports operator in the US with more than a dozen racetracks hosting more than 100 events annually. Its race facilities include Daytona International Speedway (home of the Daytona 500), Talladega Superspeedway, and Michigan International Speedway. In addition, ISC operates the Daytona 500 EXperience theme park and museum and it owns 50% of motorsports merchandiser Motorsports Authentics with rival Speedway Motorsports. Former CEO James France and his family own about 70% control of the company. Events sanctioned by NASCAR, also controlled by the France family, account for about 90% of sales.
The company generates revenue most directly through track admissions and tickets sales, and through concessions sales on race day, but the bulk of ISC's revenue comes from marketing sponsorships and broadcasting rights fees. In particular, broadcasting revenue has become an increasingly important source of revenue thanks in part to the growing popularity of the stock car racing and the efforts of NASCAR to boost TV revenue. The organization has a $4.4 billion rights deal with and broadcasting partners ABC and ESPN (both owned by Walt Disney), FOX (News Corp.), and TNT (Time Warner) that runs through 2014.
Increasing revenue from TV networks that cover NASCAR events is helping to offset some of the decreases in race attendance and ticket sales. The economic downturn that has hurt the travel and leisure sector in general has also had an an impact on the number of fans coming through the turnstiles. In addition, automakers struggling through tough economic times have been forced to curtail their involvement in auto sports, while some racing teams have been forced to cut back their operations resulting in fewer cars on the tracks. As a result of these challenges, ISC has been lowering ticket prices to boost attendance, and in 2010 it announced plans to cut jobs and lower costs in a corporate restructuring.
Looking to diversify its revenue into other arenas, ISC has a joint venture with casino gaming and horseracing operator Penn National to run a hotel casino development next to the company's Kansas Speedway. Penn National joined the Kansas gaming business in 2009 when it acquired the joint venture stake of The Cordish Company. ISC also distributes racing-related syndicated radio content to radio stations and satellite radio service SIRIUS XM through subsidiary Motor Racing Network (MRN Radio).
James France stepped down as CEO in 2009, turning the reins over to his niece, Lesa France Kennedy, who previously served as president of the company. France, whose brother, Brian France, runs NASCAR, remained as chairman of ISC. – less