Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials announced Wednesday morning that this year’s running of the Indianapolis 500 will be telecast live in the central Indiana market for the first time since 1950 because the race is a sellout.
ABC typically broadcasts the race live nationwide, but WRTV — per ABC’s contract with IMS — doesn’t show it locally until the night of the race. This year, WRTV will show the race live in the afternoon (the green flag is scheduled for 12:19 p.m.) and rebroadcast it at 7 p.m.
IMS sold out about 240,000 reserved tickets earlier this month and now says it has sold all of its general admission tickets.
The 100th running of the Indy 500 has received unusually high interest.
“It is certainly the largest crowd that has been here in a couple of decades,” IMS President Doug Boles said.
Boles told IBJ earlier this month that televising the race live locally has been discussed by IMS and ABC officials for several years, but the track had no plans to change the policy this year, even after IMS sold out all of its suites and about 240,000 reserved tickets.
But IMS officials revisited that decision after general admission infield tickets began selling briskly.
Speedway officials do not release official attendance figures for the Indy 500, but it estimated that about 350,000 spectators will be on hand for Sunday’s race.
Mark Miles, CEO of IMS parent Hulman & Co., called it the first sellout in the race’s history.