International Speedway (ISCA)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

January 26, 2012 9:00 am ET


Daniel W. Houser - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President and Treasurer

Lesa Kennedy - Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

John R. Saunders - President

Charles N. Talbert - Director of Investor & Corporate Communications


Barry L. Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Michael K. Walsh - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Alvin C. Concepcion - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Stephen Altebrando - Sidoti & Company, LLC



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Good morning, and welcome to the International Speedway Corporation Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2011 Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded on Thursday, January 26, 2012. I would now like to turn the conference over to Charles Talbert. Mr. Talbert, please go ahead.

Charles N. Talbert

Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the International Speedway's conference call. We're here to discuss the company's results for the fourth quarter ended November 30, 2011.

With us on this morning's call are Lesa France Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer; John Saunders, President; and Dan Houser, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

After our formal remark, a question-and-answer period will follow. The operator will instruct you our procedures at that time.

Before we start, I would like to address forward-looking statements that may be addressed on the call. Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Actual future performance, outcomes and results may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Please refer to the documents filed by ISC with the SEC, specifically the most recent reports on Form 10-K and 10-Q, which identify important risk factors, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in these forward-looking statements.

So with these formalities out of the way, I'll turn the call over to Lesa. Lesa?

Lesa Kennedy

Good morning, everyone, and thank you for participating on today's call. 2011 was an incredible year for NASCAR. We opened the year with Trevor Bayne becoming the youngest driver ever to win the Daytona 500, and we also ended the season in historic fashion too. Tony Stewart captured his third championship at our Homestead-Miami Speedway in the closest finish ever in the history of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. We have some great momentum as we set our sights on the 2012 season, starting with the world's premier sports car endurance race and the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 Daytona this week, followed by Speedweeks, and that all lead up to the 54th running of the Daytona 500. We're excited about these events at Daytona, and we expect yet another capacity crowd for the Great American race.

In addition to the start of the motorsports season, we're really thrilled with the opening of our Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway on February 3. This is our first venture to monetize our vast real estate holdings, and we expect it to be very successful. I surely expect that cash flow from the 50-50 joint venture would be nearly equivalent to ISC opening another Kansas Speedway-type motorsports facility with a fresh NASCAR Sprint Cup dates -- series dates included. Since there are no new gates being awarded by NASCAR, this is another way that we are increasing the company's bottom line results and further differentiating ourselves from our peers. Kansas Speedway and the Hollywood Casino are key components of the adjacent entertainment zone, which features main prominent shopping and leisure activities. The synergies of our facility and the neighborhood developments benefit all of the venues. And the area now currently attracts over 11 million visitors annually, making it one of the biggest draws in the region. We're confident that this project will create significant value for our shareholders.

The start of the motorsport season is always an exciting time for ISC, NASCAR and most important, our fans and our sponsors.

With that, I would now like to thank all of you, again, and I'll turn it over to John Saunders.

John R. Saunders

Thank you, Lesa, and good morning, everyone. During our fiscal fourth quarter, we hosted 7 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, 5 Nationwide Series events and 4 Camping World Truck Series events. The quarter-over-quarter comparison was impacted by certain factors, which are outlined in the earnings release.

We are pleased to report solid financial results, highlighted by increased net income despite ongoing macroeconomic headwinds. Dan will provide a detailed review of our financial performance later in the call.

We're keeping a close eye on consumer and corporate spending trends. The economy, while showing signs of improvement, remains fragile. Consumer confidence has rebounded from August lows but remains tenuous given current market conditions, such as unemployment levels, income growth and recent world events. The consumer, in our view, believes the economy and their financial situation are improving but remains cautious with their discretionary spending. As discretionary spending goes, so goes attendance-related revenues for sports and entertainment venues like ISC. Our expectation is that our customers will continue making purchasing decisions late in the buying cycle. Based on recent trends, we believe our pricing strategies and related consumer initiatives, coupled with facility enhancements, had helped stimulate renewals and advanced sales.

For the 2011 season, we saw an increase in our utilization rate to the mid-80% range. Phoenix's fall race achieved a sell-out, our first sell-out since 2008. And we saw an increase in retention rates for our Sprint Cup event. While one year does not make a trend, we believe that we are on the right path to achieving a normalized advanced ticket sales trend. We are seeing solid demand for the Daytona 500, as well as Sprint Cup events at Phoenix and Auto Club. Subsequent events will be wrapping up promotional activities after the Daytona 500.

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