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Volume 26 No. 202
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Around 175,000 Tickets Sold For Indy 500, But Can They All Attend?

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has sold around 175,000 grandstand and premium suite tickets for the rescheduled Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23, according to a source, though it is not clear whether all those people will be allowed to attend. IndyCar Owner Roger Penske has made clear in recent interviews that the race will only be held if fans can attend. A significant portion of the series’ revenue for the entire year comes from Indy 500 ticket sales. IMS has been attracting around 250,000 people to the race in recent years. IndyCar CEO Mark Miles told THE DAILY that ticket sales this year plummeted in March when the pandemic began and only have returned to a slow trickle since then. However, a source said that IMS’ particularly strong renewal period for this year’s race is partially why the event has sold the number it has.

LARGEST CROWD DURING PANDEMIC: A crowd in the six figures for the Indianapolis 500 would mark the largest mass gathering anywhere in the U.S. since the pandemic started. IMS is one of the largest and most sprawling facilities in sports, with 250,000 grandstand seats and a massive infield. The track is working closely with local and state officials to navigate the situation, and industry officials expect that IndyCar will have to formally confirm its intentions in the coming weeks in order to give fans and industry members time to properly plan for travel among other arrangements. IMS officials have admitted publicly that, amid the pandemic, they could move the race back as late as October if that would be the only way to run the race with fans.

RAHAL CHIMES IN ON PLAN: Driver Graham Rahal reacted on Twitter to news about the sales number by writing, “Good sign. Let the people come, we should fully understand the risks and take care of each other with great hygiene and common sense. However those who know the risks and want to attend should be able to do so...and I’ll guarantee that place will be full because it’s THE 500!” Rahal then got into a debate with some critics in his Twitter replies, underscoring how divisive a topic the idea of allowing a significant amount of fans back into sporting venues during the pandemic has become.