International Speedway Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

International Speedway (ISCA)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 05, 2012 9:00 am ET

Executives

Charles N. Talbert - Senior Director of Investor and Corporate Communications

John R. Saunders - President

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

Analysts

Alvin C. Concepcion - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

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

Stephen Altebrando - Sidoti & Company, LLC

Barry L. Lucas - Gabelli & Company, Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the International Speedway Corporation Second Quarter 2012 Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded on Thursday, July 5, 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 are here to discuss the company's results for the second quarter ended May 31, 2012. With us on this earnings call are John Saunders, President; and Dan Houser, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. After our formal remarks, a Q&A period will follow. The operator will instruct you on procedures at that time.

Before we start, I'd 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 documents filed by International Speedway 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 John Saunders. John?

John R. Saunders

Thank you, Charles, and good morning, everyone. Our fiscal second quarter financial results were positively impacted by scheduling changes, primarily due to hosting 2 additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events than in the comparable quarter. Other quarter-over-quarter comparisons are outlined in the earnings news release. Despite the favorable financial results quarter-over-quarter, attendance-related revenues at our events generated mixed results. Corporate sales for the quarter were slightly behind target, but we remain encouraged by the level of market activity supported by strong media sales.

For the year, we expect to be within a couple of percentage points of our corporate revenue target with the exception of 2 Sprint Cup events, which remain open or not yet announced. We have sold all remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup and nationwide entitlements, and we're confident that we will secure entitlement partners for both Watkins Glen and Phoenix's Sprint Cup events.

Turning to the consumer, we are seeing certain positive signs such as some growth in -- for caps for food, beverage and merchandise concessions. In addition, retention rates have experienced a slight uptick for comparable events. Positive signs indeed but attendance-related revenues continued to be challenged by the slower-than-expected economic recovery.

Deferred revenue, after adjusting for event schedule changes, is down year-over-year by approximately $11 million. Advanced ticket sales for our Sprint Cup events remain approximately 8% and 9% off from last year in units and revenue, respectively. Parts of these declines are associated with the timing of renewals and related programs. However, fans' purchasing decisions are still coming later in the sales cycle, closer to the race weekend. NASCAR core fan demographic, which is the working class, still has a lack of consumer confidence, seeing a lack of job growth and less income growth. Until these indicators improve, we expect our current consumer trends to remain under pressure.

Now, we are not waiting for the trends to reverse course to make strategic decisions to grow our business. We are moving forward with numerous initiatives to drive consumer sales. We can't stress enough the importance of getting guests to the live event. Aside from the positive impact to consumer-related revenues, it supports both corporate sales and influences the long-term health of TV media rights fees.

We are actively targeting the next generation of fans through integrated promotions, which include education on the sport with introductory fan experiences. Also, we are aggressively outbound prospecting on group sales. All of this is being supported by increased levels of consumer research, leveraging technologies such as mobile websites and event apps and highly segmented promotional campaigns, just to cite a few examples.

We believe improving the overall guest experience at our motorsports events will drive interest and conversion. More comfortable seating, upgraded and expanded restrooms, additional points of sale, leveraging audio and visual experiences with greater social connectivity, all are focus areas to enhance the fan experience to build retention.

Targeted improvements at our motorsports facilities to enhance the guest experience will further support growth. We are in the process of reviewing highly impactful projects that would necessitate an increase in CapEx.

Just this past week at Daytona, we filed with the city a Planned Master Development application, which is the first step in the pursuit of potential redevelopment projects at the World Center of Racing. While many aspects of the projects are yet to be determined, such projects could include a complete overhaul of the entire frontstretch grandstands, creating a world-class motorsports entertainment facility including features such as new seats, suites and guest amenities, as well as new entry points, improved fan conveyance and a redesigned midway for elevated fan engagement. Our filing is only the first step in a long process, and there are still many unanswered questions that could impact or even derail this initiative. Multiple internal and external factors will influence the economics and project feasibility. Construction design and cost must still be scoped. All of these and much more must be addressed before final approval.

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