Speedway officials are hoping for 100,000 fans at the race, but sources close to the IMS said to accomplish that goal at least 20,000 to 25,000 walk-up ticket sales are needed. Several sources close to the Midwestern motorcycle community said a number of rider groups from neighboring states are considering coming to the event en masse if the weather is good. Mother Nature is planning a deluge of rain for Indy right through Sunday.
Speedway officials won’t be the only ones hurting financially. City officials said they expected a $100 million economic impact, but those figures are based on turnout forecasts by the IMS. Several outdoor festival-like events from Broad Ripple to downtown are planned to maximize visitor spending at area bars, restaurants and stores.
Tim Frost, president of Frost Motorsports, a Chicago-based motorsports business consultancy, said the rainy weather could drag down the economic impact by $20 million. Favorable weather, he said, could have pushed the city’s projected economic impact up 15 percent.
“A forecast for days-long rain is about the worst thing that could happen to this inaugural event,” Frost said. “It even makes it difficult to evaluate the race’s long-term viability at the Speedway.”