NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The growing lure of NASCAR auto racing paid big dividends for International Speedway Corp., which reported record first quarter earnings on Thursday.
The Daytona Beach, Fla.-based promoter of motorsports events used record attendance at this year's Daytona 500 to help post first quarter net income of $25.9 million, or 60 cents per diluted share.
That marked a 29 percent increase over the same period last year and bested Wall Street's prediction of earnings totaling 58 cents per share.
Jeff Gordon's narrow Daytona 500 victory over Dale Earnhardt helped produce big profits for International Speedway
Susan Schandel, International Speedway 's (ISCA) chief financial officer, told CNNfn's "In Play" that several factors contributed to the increase, including an 18 percent increase in admissions revenue at its racetracks and the addition of 13,400 seats at Daytona International Speedway, the largest of five motorsports facilities it operates.
The Daytona 500, NASCAR's most prestigious event, is by far International Speedway's most profitable event of the year. Its success this year was helped by a record attendance of 156,000 and a television audience of 24.6 million, a 13 percent increase over last year.
Combined with television revenue and suite revenue being up 20 percent and 50 percent respectively, the firm's total first quarter revenue climbed 22 percent to $83.2 million.
Schandel noted those revenues are expected to climb even higher in future years as a result of NASCAR's agreement to retain the electronic media broadcast rights for all race events beginning with the 2000 racing season. (174K WAV) or (174K AIF)
As for new facilities, Schandel said the firm's new racetrack being constructed in Kansas City should be completed no later than 2001. In addition, the company continues to work with the Trump Organization to identify a possible racetrack site in the New York City metropolitan area.
International Speedway stock climbed 1-7/8 in trading Thursday on the Nasdaq to close at 54-1/8.