Due in part to television blackout rules, the 2019 Indy 500 will not be broadcast on NBC's local affiliate in Indianapolis, reports the Indy Star. Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles confirmed he is expecting 300,000 fans at the racetrack, about 50,000 shy of a sell-out.
"Someday, I’d love to have a sell-out like we did in 2016," Boles told the paper. "Yeah, then we could talk about (lifting the blackout) again."
Since 1951, every Indy 500 race has been blacked out in Indianapolis, except for the historic 2016 race, which marked the 100th running of the race.
The best way for Indianapolis residents to see the Indy 500 is to go to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Tickets for reserved seats are $60, while general admission in advance to sit on the infield mounds will set residents back $35. General admission tickets on the day of the race are $40.
The race will also be replayed locally on NBC at 8 p.m. E.T.
"When we first implemented the blackout, it was to protect the integrity of the live event," Boles explained to IndyStar. "What makes the race special on TV is the number of people that show up to participate."
IMS lifted the blackout in 2016 out of fears of overcrowding at the track. Once reserved seats sold out, general admission ticket sales skyrocketed.
"We didn't want to have so many fans that it wasn't a good experience," Boles explained. "It made sense for the 100th running to let the community celebrate with us whether they were at the track or not."
Boles said that lifting the blackout would only happen again if the grandstands are sold out. "That's the first thing. We'd have to get there, and then it'd be a consideration going forward," he added.
While the race will not be broadcast on television in Indianapolis, it will be available on the radio. Racing fans can tune in to 1070 AM "The Fan" or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network on SiriusXM radio.
Local racing fans and visitors were allowed at IMS parking lot at 5 a.m., which the gates opening an hour later. The 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 kicks off at 12:45 p.m. local time. There are 33 racers, with last year's winner, Will Power of Team Penske in sixth position on the starting grid. The 2017 winner, Takuma Sato, is in the 14th position.
Kelly Clarkson is performing the National Anthem, while Jim Cornelison will sing "Back Home Again in Indiana," which is traditionally performed before the race.
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