Homestead Speedway trims prices, aims to be kid-friendly
By Meena Rupani
Lowering prices and making races more kid-friendly are ways the Homestead-Miami Speedway is looking to increase attendance.
Since coming aboard in December, speedway President Matthew Becherer has been working on enhancing guest experiences.
"When I first got here we looked at ticket renewals and pricing, the back office aspect of the races," Mr. Becherer said.
The speedway sent comprehensive surveys to fans soon after he came in and held multiple focus groups. "We wanted to find out what the fans wanted us to continue with, develop, and most importantly eliminate completely."
The speedway has made the Indy car races free for children and Mr. Becherer said he "lowered the prices of about a third of the Sprint Cup races."
The prices were lowered in the grandstand part of the stadium, Mr. Becherer said. Prices vary for each sector of the grandstand.
"We looked at the needs of fans in every section of the grandstand. We gave them the choice of paying a lower price for the same seat or paying the same price and move to a better location."
Free parking is also available on NASCAR and IndyCar Championship weekends, according to the speedway. Fans are also allowed to bring their own food and beverages both weekends.
The fans, according to Mr. Becherer, didn't want to renew tickets for the following year right after an event occurred.
"We would send out mail to the fans that attended races too soon asking them if they would come back next year. We pushed this back three months."
Mr. Becherer has not yet seen effects of the changes, but "tickets with the new prices just went on sale July 3. This is exciting from a ticketing perspective."
On July 4, the City of Homestead chose the speedway to host its annual fireworks display. Admission to the "Race to the Fourth" was free. The event was held in the speedway's infield to allow guests to get up close and personal with the race track and pit areas that this fall will host the biggest names in both NASCAR and IndyCar, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and South Florida residents Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan, according to the speedway.
"We would be honored to do it again if the city inquires," Mr. Becherer said. "It was a big hit with the fans."
The speedway continues to look for ways to target the local community.
"We are constantly trying to get into the fans' head about what they want out of their experience," he added.
The new president, who comes from a racing background, says he can identify with the average fan, and fans often e-mail him directly asking about upcoming events.
"My dad and I went to races all over the Midwest. Auto racing is DNA. Our fans are our most important ally. They are at the forefront of all our events," Mr. Becherer said. "I want to follow the fan from the time they buy their ticket to the time they leave the event."
Upcoming speedway events include the IZOD IndyCar Series Championship Weekend Oct. 1-2 and NASCAR's Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 19-21.