Apr 21, 2021 - Sports

Indy 500 will be world's largest sporting event since the pandemic's start

A race car on a race track

An Aptil 9 open test for May's Indy 500. Photo: Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Next month's Indianapolis 500, at 40% capacity, will be the world's biggest sporting event since the start of COVID-19, Indianapolis Motor Speedway confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic has hobbled many aspects of community life, including sports. That such a large sporting event is moving forward indicates the success of the U.S. vaccination campaign, as well as the buoyed confidence in the IMS's virus protocols.

Details: Seating at the race will be socially distanced, but 135,000 fans will be able to witness the race in-person. Other safety measures include required face coverings, temperature checks and dispersed hand sanitizer stations.

What they're saying: “The city and state have worked with us to identify the appropriate health and safety precautions so that we can successfully host a limited but very enthusiastic crowd," Douglas Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in the statement.

For comparison's sake, the NCAA allowed 8,000 fans in Indianapolis for the April 5 men's March Madness final.

  • The Alabama spring football game last weekend hosted 47,218 fans.
  • An Australian Rules football match in Melbourne drew 51,723 in March.
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