ESPN SportsCenter is coming to the Indianapolis Speedway for the Indianapolis 500 for the first time in more than a decade.
The SportsCenter coverage will include two live one-hour programs on the morning of the race, with hosts Matt Barrie and Sara Walsh broadcasting from a set in the Pagoda Plaza area.
The first hour, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., will be on ESPN, and the next hour will be on ESPN2. The 100th running of the Indy 500 starts at 11 a.m. on ABC, ESPN’s sister network.
On May 28, the day before the race, Barrie and Walsh will host a three-hour edition of SportsCenter on the Road from the Speedway beginning at 9 a.m. on ESPN. The May 27 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, hosted by Lindsay Czarniak, also will air live from the Speedway. ESPN launched SportsCenter on the Road last year, and this marks the first time it has come to central Indiana.
SportsCenter on the Road did a show from Notre Dame on the opening weekend of college football season in 2015. That's the only time it's been in Indiana.
In addition to the four live programs at the IMS, other editions of SportsCenter will carry live reports from the Speedway during the week leading up to the race.
“When a sporting event as iconic as the Indianapolis 500 reaches its 100th version, it’s a testament to its appeal, stature and longevity,” Michael Fountain, ESPN senior coordinating producer, said in a statement.
The Speedway is riding a wave of momentum as the 100th running of the Indy 500 approaches.
Last week, IMS President Doug Boles told IBJ he expects this year’s Indy 500 to sell out for the first time in more than 20 years. On top of that, Boles said he expects 1,150 new pricey club seats in Turn 4 to sell out within two weeks. Those tickets sell for $1,750 each.
“Ticket sales are tremendous,” Boles said. “If we held the Indy 500 today, we’d have more people in the venue than we had on race day last year. And with 65 more selling days, we’re confident reserved tickets will sell out. Race day this year is going to feel like a late '80's or early '90s mega-crowd.”