Jump to content
geknight

Front Gate Admission

Recommended Posts

Just a few questions for everyone. In 1990, I remember the outrage when many tracks started charging $10 per person for admission around the country. After a few years, it became the normal price. 27 years later, most tracks are still charging the same price. With the inflation since then. It is amazing that tracks can survive once you consider the increase that have occurred in insurance, purse, wages, fuel, electricity, taxes, etc.

 

The question is how much longer can tracks survive before we see major increases in admission costs? And what can be done to help keep the costs from going up? What ideas will help combat the inflation so families can still afford to enjoy a night at the track? And what can tracks do to keep costs down so gate fees can stay affordable?

Thanks to anyone that has any ideas that will help track promoters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm perfectly happy paying $15-20 for track admission if it means keeping the tracks open; that is simple. The paradigm has shifted, we as fans must do what we can to help our local promoters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

redd35, at most tracks back then, modifieds paid $300 to win, street stocks $200 to win. super late models anywhere from $600-$1000 to win depending on where you race. of course the cost of building a car and racing was far cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$12-15.00 a fair admission price these days imo in doing that keep the beer and good food affordable and the front gate will be ok.

Several years back Alvin Stewart at Austin did this the best and at the time paid a fair purse with a pit full of cars. Did a "Motorola" employee night at the races for various business around Austin and always did well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's easy for all of us to get on here and comment but we don't own a track so it really is just good conversation. $12-15 seems reasonable to most, is that because everything else cost that much or because the product the race track is selling is worth that much. Seems to me if all you are doing is racing cars just like they did 10 -15 years ago then why should the price change? Yes it cost more for a racer to race, cost more for a track owner to open and operate but does the spectator that has to pay more feel like he is getting more for his or her money? I realize a gallon of milk has not changed but the price has gone up, but things like that are what the consumer feels they need it is not entertainment. A movie cost more now a days but the graphics have improved and they believe the overall movie experience is better. Think about this every track has charged more for a big show...why? Because there is added value with bigger car counts and better show. As long as every track is doing what they can to provide the entertainment that equals the cost it will work. What I don't like is the idea that we need to raise cost to make a track survive, no we need to get people to come to the races to make tracks survive I would rather see 1000 people in the stands at $8 each versus 300 people at $15 each......just an opinion

Edited by Owen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The big mistake tracks make is charging for the kids. Have to make it easy to bring the kids. Don't force parents to leave the next generation of race fans at home. You'll get something out of them at the concessions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have to agree with mike and owen .if i owned a track the first people i would ask is the fans ..print a discount questioner .they turn it in they get a discount on something .this way you get it from the horses mouth .. add one main question are you with a car . this way you know where you stand week in and out going after new fans must be a main focus. a school student night or college night free tickets something of the sort lose at the gate but win at the concession . think bout it they are not coming now so you have every thing to gain ... .a track that keeps adding to the cost to get in the front gate will loose in the end .a track that can cater more the fans wishes will win even with a lower gate ..volume yes that's the hard part .

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Competition for the entertainment dollar has dramatically increased since the "good old days" that geknight uses as his baseline. In many towns around the country during that era, you could go to a bar, go to a movie, go bowling or go to the race track on a typical Saturday night. Bars seem to be doing right well, but the rest of the old school entertainment industries have had to change their strategy or die the death of rabbit ears and dial phones. Race tracks have not done so, except in a few notable cases.

 

In addition, many folks would rather stay at home and watch a movie on their home entertainment system than make the effort to make it out to the theater or the track or go anywhere for that matter. And with the advent of a zillion entertaining apps and two zillion X-Box games and three zillion entertaining websites (like Lone Star Speedzone, for instance!), it's tempting to just stay home and stare at the screen.

 

Solutions?

 

- Raise front gate prices? No way. If the grandstands are half empty now, they will be three-quarters empty if you raise the price without dramatically improving the product. It's simple supply and demand at work, folks.

- Raise back gate prices? This will cause poorly funded teams to find the fishing pole or golf clubs. The better funded teams will still race, but now the show has been reduced to some degree or other. Along the same lines, you could stop paying purses. And you know how well that would go over.

 

- Improve the show and the infrastructure to today's standards? That would be best, but who pays for all that? The fans? Don't think so... The race teams? They are already spending the grocery money? The promoters? Yep, are they willing to invest a bunch of money in capital improvements, amenities and product development? In light of the fact that tracks are closing - especially pavement short tracks - this seems like wishful thinking to me. Rich guys with a love of the sport don't seem willing to become poor guys with a love of the sport. Right here in Texas we have several asphalt tracks that could be renovated to today's entertainment standards, but folks with money don't seem to be too interested in taking this step.

 

- Get more sponsor money? Maybe, but they have to have some sort of return on their investment. And advertising money is increasingly going to internet venues where people actually see their message and, of course, to the traditional TV platforms. What return does an advertiser really get by investing in local racing? Most advertising in local racing is from those already involved or those selling racing related products to the participants.

 

On a more positive note, I think one of the main reasons dirt tracks have managed to survive, and even flourish in some cases, is because the whole package is really a throwback to an earlier day. And from the competitive point of view, dirt is the great "evener." You can cheat up a storm and not win if you guess wrong on what the dirt will do. You can spend a pile on the latest trick of the week and the guy with guts and talent will still win. It's back to basics on the dirt and a certain segment of our population - me included - long for simpler days where things are what they appear to be. On the dirt there is no hiding.

 

And I hate to GB started, but I think the racing community missed the boat by not developing racing classes for the cars that everyone is buying over the past decade. Where are the Honda classes? The fuel injected classes? The Mitsubishi teams with the speed shop stickers all over their tinted windows? They are out there and racing at drag strips and on the streets. FWD, FI cars are what people are driving. We missed the boat on this whole generation of car enthusiasts I think.

 

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hardest thing in the world is catering to race fans , and racers, OMG ! Most tempermental people in the world . Great people , But , really challenging . Did this for far too many years at RGS . Spent way too much money , lost much sleep , but would not change anything . Some of the best years of my life were spent there , the only way to make money at it is to cater to fans as VIP status , provide large car counts , ( Bigger purses ) Specialty shows , our best were Monster trucks , dwarfs , demolition derby , and motorcycle events . Fans will pay big bucks for big and different shows . Variety is the spice of life ..,. Go There !!! Put money back into facility , provide better concessions , restrooms ect. That's where its at !!! Cater to the People that spend the money !!! Too late for us , we got burned out stuggling for too many years. RGS Former track operator . Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dern Nick, you already have the lightening bolts and now you steal my thunder. lol. Nothing to add on that subject but along the same lines there are more venues not being used, quads for example. Benard you remember when RGS had an average of 22 quads, mostly from the Corpus aera, a pretty good income addition and show. The biggest crowd ever was the first monster truck Bigfoot making a solo run. Fans were backed up for miles. Also when Steve Austins truck showed up people were turned away. When 8 full time NASCAR drivers showed up for an PR race nobody came. So that's right, its the show that sells. And trying to get more slices out of one pie never works. So MAKE A SHOW, SELL TICKETS and quit crying. Tracks up north are doing wonderful. Learn from them, not from losers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

sts last night had a great show of cars for a holiday weekend .the stands were looking good considering the holiday . wet track but some really good races being put on .. so something is right at this track ..sts has built a good fan base over the years .still worried some bout the gate price though and time will tell on that .otherwise the track looked to be in good shape over all ..never seen so many easter eggs disappear that showed how many parents brought out the young ones ..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was a good night.Egg hunt was well organized and went quick. Track prep is hit and miss sometimes. I hope they make the exit to turn two wider to make for better racing. Still a good night at STS.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am no expert on this dirt deal at all and only raced once on this track and have been on ride along with tj and jesse once apiece so I will see it in a different way than maybe most .. turn three and four has more banking and tighter radius that turn one and two which lets the car stay loaded through and off the turn with a curved over exit to flat more banked straight gives the cars a better forward launch ..turn one and two do not have the same banking less I think with a more flatter exit so the cars will unload more and those who can set up and figure how to keep that load and get the car to aim straighter off the apex will look like hero's if you miss that part you will slide out no groove or banking back there to help you except the wall . the drivers who really have that figured out pays off you [ Notice the side by side racing isn't very good through the turns one and two on exit ] this track has all the angles of a driver and set up challenge where you have to either chose your battle points or be masterful at both driver and set up artist .. and really I like it that way it has all the challenges a racer can want if its dry slick some cars come to the front if it is wet others come to the front that is one great thing bout this track you do not know whos night it is going to be great ..the driver I help with has on average been able to stay near the front half and lately front four or five for awhile now we are leaning the track on all conditions and the driver is learning how to use what he has on any given night a huge challenge and one that takes time to learn driver must be flexible and the driver is not my son he has help..one can never be comfortable like paved racing set the car up and know what you have week end and out ..the fun part bout dirt id say ..

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was very guilty of taking bulks of tickets and giving them away to new fans to let people know the track was there.

Many times that's the challenge, getting them there pretty easy to get your admission cost back once they get there and start enjoying themselves and keep coming back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So there was a time a close friend told me no one has ever put 1000 people in the stands at the track, so I made it a personal challenge to get a 1000 in the stands, we gave away over 5000 free tickets to a single event and it worked. 1093 showed up that night, honestly one of the lowest concession totals we had that year and the next week it was back to the same old numbers. My experience People that only want to come on a free ticket won't spend money, people willing to pay for a ticket that is right for the entertainment value they feel they are getting will spend plenty. As a side note we put 1357 paying customers in the facility one night and numerous regular nights of racing with over a 1000 paying once we built it up the right way by providing entertainment worth the price of admission and a lower cost for consumable products.

Edited by Owen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the hockey team gave tickets to the Skills Competition group the last weekend of the season. 5000 the first night and 6600 the next. And concession sure wasn't complaining either night even at the outrageous prices the ABC charge. The thing about giveaway tickets, you better have a good product that night.If not it's all for nothing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charge a flat rate per car say $20 no matter how many people are in the vehicle, 2-10 it doesn't matter how many just get them in. 2nd thing is have a great show so that the spectators will want to come back, keep things moving and keep the spectators involved young and old.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Different promotions like $1 hot dog night,buy 1 ticket get one free ,family four packs say 4 tickets,4 hot dogs 4 sodas $44.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone for the comments. especially keeping them positive. On this note. I moved to Texas about 1 year ago. Work last year did not allow me to get to the races. This year I have been to 3 races at 3 different tracks. Cotton Bowl is everything I have heard it was. Great staff and races. A lot of cars and the races moved along very well so I got home at a good time. Also went to Shady Oaks Speedway and I-37 Speedway. I was surprised how quickly the staff at I-37 Speedway has gotten the hang of putting on a very entertaining show. Great races. And the USMTS races at Shady Oaks had a lot of cars and good races despite a lot of rain that week made it very hard. I wish that track was still running. But with Edna just down the road, maybe that would be a little too much with a limited population. I hope this discussion helps out promoters. I know they have a tremendous challenge right now

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like ratdaddy idea ..I have often thought the same bout car load price .I use to work at a local drive in picture show and that was one thing that loaded the empty speaker poles .the concession would empty on those nights ..it was ten dollars a car load and yep those trunks were packed with people ..a racetrack gambles every weekend they race hoping the stands are full . pricing a family of four out at the gate is counter productive ... didn't hmp use the car load price or cheaper gate price ...a track could try that one race weekend to see where it goes. is there are does a racetrack ever try to figure out what percentage of the fans in the stands spend money at the concession ..

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×