Indy 500 to Host 135,000 Fans at Largest Sporting Event During COVID-19 Crisis

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The Indianapolis 500 is set to host the largest sports crowd in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Wednesday that it will host up to 135,000 fans on May 30, which is 40% of venue's capacity. If the 40% capacity is met, that will mark the world's largest crowd for a sports event since the onset of the pandemic. 

“The number-one thing fans can do to ensure a great Race Day is get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Penske Entertainment President & CEO Mark Miles said in a press release. “We continue to offer vaccinations at IMS and will be extending our mass vaccination clinic throughout the Month of May. This is all part of the effort to continue getting Indiana back on track.”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway currently has planned vaccination dates from April 24-30, and vaccinations will be available on select days from May 1-27. 

The speedway is the largest facility in the world with more than 250,000 grandstand seats and the ability to host close to 400,000 on race day. It worked with Marion County Public Health Department to determine the best crowd size, which was decided after the city hosted this year's NCAA men’s basketball tournament with limited attendance. 

Just last weekend, the University of Alabama's spring football game brought in 47,218 fans. The crowd in Tuscaloosa marked the most fans at a sporting event in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Bryant-Denny Stadium normally holds 101,821 fans, but was opened at 50% capacity on Saturday. The spring game was not a sellout. 

MLB has allowed spectators in a limited capacity in 2021, most franchises allowing stadiums to be filled between 10 and 32%. The Texas Rangers are the only exception, who allowed full capacity with 38,238 fans on opening day

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