Charlotte Motor Speedway pulling out 41,000 seats, eliminating Diamond Tower Terrace

Charlotte Motor Speedway pulling out 41,000 seats, eliminating Diamond Tower Terrace

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - There's no question about it, empty seats at a racetrack look bad on TV, and if you're a sponsor paying millions to have your name on a car,  you want it in front of fans, not seats.

Maybe that's why Charlotte Motor Speedway and parent company Speedway Motorsports, Inc., is tearing out the Diamond Tower and its 41,000 seats.  In an Securities and Exchange Commission filing, track owners called them "low demand seats."

The filing goes on to say that the seating area will be replaced with "areas for premium hospitality, advertising, and other facility purposes."  It also notes that 17,000 seats are being removed from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

In recent events at CMS part of the unsold seats were covered with advertising banners, and last year the track didn't even sell tickets in the Turn Two section that is now being removed.

How unusual is it to tear out seats?  Not very if you go by recent trends.

Within the last two years, Michigan International Speedway eliminated 13,000 seats,  Talladega Speedway cut 30,000,  Homestead, Florida, took out 10,000,  and Richmond removed 20,000, to name a few.  

And it's not just happening to racetracks.

Baseball's Cleveland Indians Progressive Field made renovations that eliminated 5,000 seats, and the NFL's Washington Redskins FedEx Field cut 12,000 seats.

Stadium and track owners say it's to make room for "premium hospitality."  That includes those amenities that improve the fan experience, such as wider seats, restaurants, shops, even swimming pools where the stands used to be.

It also doesn't hurt to make events appear to be at or near capacity again.

Speedway officials would not talk about exactly what the new premium hospitality will be, but WBTV has learned that the plans should be revealed in the next few months.