Since the NASCAR Hall of Fame opened in 2010 it has fallen far short of attendance projections and had annual deficits of more than a million dollars. But now, for the first time, CRVA CEO Tom Murray says the Hall of Fame is ahead in something.
Revenues for the fiscal year that will end in July are currently outpacing budget projections by $80,000. Murray says having the DNC in Charlotte helped, but he mainly credits the Hall of Fame's growing popularity as a venue for receptions and special events.
"While the attendance numbers are flat or slowly declining – as expected – we are seeing big growth in the venue use and that is one of the reasons why you see these revenues now exceeding budget and exceeding prior year," Murray told the Charlotte City Council on Monday night.
While the NASCAR Hall of Fame will always lure race fans interested in museum-like exhibits, Murray says the $200 million facility's real success will likely be as a cool place to have a party.
The CRVA runs the Hall of Fame, but it's owned by the city and subsidized by hotel and restaurant taxes. The original attendance projection of 800,000 people a year proved wildly optimistic. Last fiscal year, attendance was just under 200,000.
Six months into the current fiscal year, CRVA numbers show about 89,000 people have gone through the Hall of Fame's turnstiles.