The Indianapolis 500 is being run in May and it will be the largest sporting event in the world since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the world of sports in March of 2020. The iconic race is slated to allow 135,000 fans when it takes place on May 30, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway revealed on Wednesday.
The track has been working with the Marion County Public Health Department to determine that 40 percent capacity could be reached for the race. At full capacity, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has over 250,000 grandstand seats and can hold nearly 400,000 fans total.
Much like the 2020 installment, fans at the race in May will be required to wear face coverings. They will also be required to submit to temperature checks upon their entrance to the track. In addition, Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- which is a vaccination site -- extended its vaccinations clinics until the end of May, so that fans could receive a vaccination if they so chose.
In addition, the grandstand seating will be socially distanced and fans will have the option of returning their tickets if they were no longer wish to attend.
"This event and this place means so much to everybody we see every day and we hear from every day, whether they are Hoosiers or race fans from around the world," President and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. Mark Miles told the Associated Press. "We feel a real responsibility to protect that legacy and to grow it and to have the race. We're ready to take the next step in bringing back the economy and a lot of that in this city and state is driven by sports events which has been shut down for so many months.
"March Madness was incredibly successful, this is the next step and it just so happens this will probably be the biggest sporting event of the year."
The COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the Indianapolis 500 last year. The iconic race was postponed until Aug. 23, 2020 and only allowed 25 percent capacity (an estimated 87,500 fans).
As Miles noted, the Indianapolis area did recently host the NCAA men's basketball tournament in March and April. The NCAA permitted 8,000 fans for the national championship game, which was played at Lucas Oil Stadium on May 5.
Currently, the most attended sporting event in America since last March was Alabama's spring football game, which hosted 47,218 fans earlier in April.