International Speedway (ISCA)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 06, 2011 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


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

Joseph D. Hovorka - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to the International Speedway Corp. 2011 Third Quarter Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded on Thursday, October 6, 2011. I would now like to turn the conference over to Charles Talbert, Director of Investor and Corporate Communications for International Speedway. Mr. Talbert, please go ahead.

Charles N. Talbert

Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the International Speedway's conference call. We are here to discuss the company's results for the third quarter ended August 31, 2011.

With us on this morning's call are Lesa France Kennedy, CEO; John Saunders, President; and Dan Houser, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. After our formal remarks, a question-and-answer period will follow. The operator will instruct you on 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 Kennedy. Lesa?

Lesa Kennedy

Good morning, and thanks, everyone, for joining us on today's call. Through disciplined focus on the cost side of the business, we are delivering a stronger operating margin. The execution of our cost-containment initiatives has increased fiscal year-to-date bottom line results despite lower revenues. This was partially driven by not hosting any IndyCar events this year. While the economy remains our biggest impediment, we feel confident that our commitment to improving the guest experience will better position the company for long-term growth.

Recent and ongoing capital improvements at our facilities continue to be well received by our customers. We believe that delivering unique and memorable experiences, attractive pricing options and strong racing will, in time, generate stronger revenues, as well as increased bottom line results. Investing in our business through fan-friendly capital improvements and strategic ancillary development such as our Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway, along with sound financial policies will ensure that ISC maintains its significant competitive advantage within the industry. With a strict focus on our business plan, we have consistently delivered solid financial results. And when the economy strengthens, we have a tremendous opportunity to prosper through improved consumer and corporate spending trends. To further support our stock price, we're also returning capital to our shareholders through open market share repurchases, as well as our annual dividend payment.

We're excited about the prospects for International Speedway Corp. And with that, I will now turn the call over to John Saunders.

John R. Saunders

Thank you, Lesa. While we are still experiencing softness in our attendance-related revenue categories, we are seeing positive signs of stabilization in our business. Deferred revenue has stabilized year-over-year. Advance ticket sales for our Sprint Cup events are up approximately 1% in units and down approximately 3% in revenue. Our weighted average ticket price through August for Sprint Cup events is comparable to 2010, down only slightly, approximately 2%. Per cap spending for our fans is steady.

Our capacity utilization for Sprint Cup through our August Michigan event is approximately 84%, which is consistent where we expect to be at the end of the NASCAR season. This compares favorably to last year's utilization rate of approximately 76%.

As we have stated during previous calls, our attendance-related revenues will continue to be our most significant business risk. We believe the company's full year revenues will be below our guidance of $635 million. On a more positive note, due to our concerted efforts to take costs out of the business, we are maintaining the low end of our non-GAAP earnings guidance of $1.60 per share and operating margin of 22%. These are marked improvements over our fiscal 2010 results. While revenues will be below our expectations, it should be noted that our 2010 revenues included approximately $10 million from the 4 IndyCar series events we promoted last year.

We have further inroads to make to motivate our customers to commit to their purchasing decisions sooner. Not only will this mitigate possible and actual inclement weather, but also the various life events that arise unexpectedly. To accelerate the sales cycle, we have implemented targeted consumer initiatives that we are optimistic will succeed in getting our customers to make their purchasing decisions earlier. We are actively prospecting for new fans, particularly the next-generation fan. We have expanded our youth initiatives to encourage families to attend. In many instances, children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult. This younger demographic is our next-generation race fan. To market to this demographic, traditional means of advertising may not be adequate to reach them effectively. Other mediums, primarily social media channels, more effectively access and resonate with the youth segment. We are actively involved in creating an interactive dialogue to drive interest with current and potential fans.

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