The 2017 Indianapolis 500 isn’t likely to sell out like it did this year, but Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles is confident that attendance will be higher than it was in 2015.
This year marked the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, prompting the race's first sellout in more than 20 years.
Since the conclusion of this year’s race, Boles’ staff has been busy working on renewals for next year, and although he declined to estimate the percentage of renewals, he said they have been “really, really strong.”
IMS officials recently shifted gears to work on upgrading ticket holders who want better seats. In November, the Speedway will put its remaining inventory on sale.
“Not only are renewals strong, but we’re getting quite a few new applications for tickets,” Boles said. “We’re very excited by what we’re seeing.”
Boles added that the IMS will enter this November in much better position than it did leading into the 2015 race.
In recent years, Indianapolis 500 attendance has surged. Boles said it has increased every year since 2011.
Speedway officials declined to reveal 2016 attendance but said all the suites and approximately 240,000 reserved seats for the 2016 Indy 500 were sold. It was estimated that about 350,000 spectators were on hand for this year’s race. This year’s attendance was close to 100,000 higher than last year’s, according to sources close to the Speedway.
Boles said this year's high watermark isn’t likely to be matched in 2017, but he is confident the race won’t go too far in reverse. In 2018, steady attendance growth is expected to resume.
“We knew the 100th running in 2016 was going to be a really big event,” Boles said. “Our whole goal was to be better in 2017 than we were in 2015. And I’m absolutely confident that’s going to happen.”