Any doubts that the pricey new club seats at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway would sell well have gone up in smoke.
Despite a price tag of $1,750 per seat, the 1,150 new seats in the fourth turn are selling fast and should be sold out by mid-April, according to Speedway President Doug Boles.
The section, named the Hulman Terrace Club, would score the Speedway more than $2 million in ticket revenue if it were to sell out.
“Absolutely we expect those to sell out within two weeks,” Boles told IBJ on Friday. “The interest levels on those have been very, very high.”
Sports marketers wondered late last year when the new section was first announced whether the frugal Indianapolis market would be receptive to the steep price tag.
Demand for tickets for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29 are likely fueling sales for the new section, said Larry DeGaris, director of academic sports marketing programs at the University of Indianapolis.
Boles said 800 of the seats were sold within a month after the Speedway started selling the new inventory in January.
"There are a lot of people who want a high-level experience, but can’t afford or don’t want an entire suite,” Boles said. “We were always confident they would sell out.”
The Hulman Terrace Club is the first new seating option at IMS in more than a decade and a key piece of the ongoing Project 100, a massive enhancement plan for the track set to be finished for the 100th Indianapolis 500.
The IMS did very little marketing of the new inventory, Boles said, relying mostly on internal lists of people who already had inquired about suites and other luxury seating. The club seats are being sold on a one-year contract.
“We only did a couple of ads,” Boles said. “We had a lot of call-ins inquiring about the seats.”
The tickets are good for all three races at the IMS this year—the IndyCar Series road race in early May, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400. Ticketholders can use the seats for practices and qualifications, as well as on race days. Boles said they likely will also be good for the Red Bull Air Race on Oct. 2.
The seats do not include food and drink, which, for three races, could easily bump the price over $2,000.
Ticketholders in the section will get a reserved spot in an upper-level, 22-inch stadium seat, plus access to a private area where food and beverages can be purchased. They also will have access to a new outdoor deck with a covered bar on the south end of the club area. The outdoor deck will surround a large indoor pavilion.
Club seats in U.S. stick-and-ball sports have been common for more than a decade, but are relatively new in motorsports. The newly redesigned Daytona International Speedway boasts dozens of them.
Despite the demonstrated demand, there are no plans to expand the Hulman Terrace section.
“The area is as big as it can get,” Boles said.