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My plan for running the 2020 500 with fans

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  • My plan for running the 2020 500 with fans

    Unfortunately I have way too much time on my hands in May to think about how to run the Indy 500 with fans and I wanted to share my latest ideasas a starting point for discussion. I hope that this plan will not be needed but I really do not believe we will see the full fans in the stands this year so here it goes and I would like your thoughts.

    1. 1st task - Determine the maximum # of fans that could attend while properly socially distancing.

    2. 2nd task - With the safe # of people from the 1st task established begin to pare down the # of people who can attend (damn this is depressing) by asking season ticket holders to voluntarily give up their tickets for this year's 500 with incentives for doing so by seniority.

    For example

    1. 40 to 50 years of seniority (Gold package)

    a. Pass through of 2020 tickets to 2021 Indy 500
    b. Free tickets to a 2021 indy car race of their choice = to the # of tickets they have for the 500
    c. Free tickets to the 2021 Brickyard 500
    d. 1/2 price renewal of 500 tickets for 2022 500 & free bronze badges equal to the # of tickets for the 500.


    2. 30 to 40 years of seniority (Silver Package)

    a. Pass through of 2020 tickets to 2021 Indy 500
    b. Free tickets to a 2021 indy car race of their choice = to the # of tickets they have for the 500
    c. Free tickets to the 2021 Brickyard 500


    3. 20 to 40 years of seniority (Bronze package)
    a. Pass through of 2020 tickets to 2021 Indy 500
    b. Free tickets to a 2021 indy car race of their choice = to the # of tickets they have for the 500


    3. 3rd task - subtract the # of people who can safely attend by the # of people who volunteered to give up their tickets in the incentive program to obtain the # people who want to attend. If the # of people who want to attend is less than # of people who can safely attend then all that will be needed is to determine seat assignments.

    If the # of people who want to attend exceeds the # of people who can safely attend then implement the painful process of informing people with the least seniority on up that they can't attend in 2020 but ensure them that they will honor their 2020 tickets for 2021 with no loss in seniority.


    4. 4th task - Race day

    1. Allow normal parking but stage people entering by grandstand assignment at pre designated times observing social distancing while entering the facility. All people entering the facility will be screened with temperature reading at the gates. Any temperature reading greater than 100 deg F will not be allow in. All spectators must wear masks for the race.

    2. One small cooler per spectator

    3. Allow a predetermined # of people in the bathroom with yellow shirts there to monitor and provide for traffic control


    4. Concension will be open but no lines, all food will be ordered only by texting your order to the # on concension stand. Food will be delivered to the foot of the grandstand and you will be notified via text when the order arrives.

    5. Post race. Keep the tradition of the winning driver making a victory lap after the race is concluded but have only the winning drive & car owner in separate pick up trucks in the bed while being interviewed remotely by Kevin Lee.

    6. After victory lap spectators will be dismissed by rows from bottom to top.

    7. No access to infield or garage area


    The benefits are obvious. The incentives look forward to 2021 and beyond by promoting the series as a whole and does so fairly by opening up all race tracks where the series races so as not penalize fans that live in other parts of the country. The incentives also pays attention to the Brickyard 400 and hopefully builds back the fan base at that track.

    I hope and pray that we can run with full fans but if not then we need a plan to have some fans there and I just thought I should put a plan together

  • #2
    Please share your thoughts

    Comment


    • #3
      Ultimately, the business question appears to be "do paying customers require measures such as these to be in place in order for them to purchase a ticket, attend, and continue attending in the future"? The Speedway is a business and must make decisions like one. They don't have the luxury of coming up with "feel good" standards without bearing the consequences of (potentially LARGE) financial losses - unlike political leaders (who are really playing with other people's money). I don't get the sense that the 500 was wildly profitable with a full house, so a significantly reduced crowd (with significantly reduced revenue) wouldn't just make running it "less profitable", it may make it a financial disaster in business terms. A 50% reduction in fans, for example, doesn't result in a 50% decrease in expenses. The facility still requires the same amount of maintenance and upgrades as it does with a capacity crowd; staffing may be reduced slightly but I bet if one looked at the financials, the race day payroll for the 500 wouldn't rank toward the top of the expense list.

      I'm certain that there are some current and potential ticket holders that would decline to purchase, decline to renew, or decline to attend without measures like this (aka "Social Distancing"). My opinion is that the VAST majority of those that have already purchased/renewed or are inclined to purchase a ticket to this year's 500 do not require such measures in order to attend/purchase/renew.
      The business equation then, using my opinion as the basis, would seem to say that there is no reason to pursue these measures:
      1. The paying customers are not asking for it/requiring it;
      2. There are enough paying customers that will attend/purchase/renew to make up for any that would decline to do so;
      3. The local government is not imposing these measures - at least, I haven't heard of the State of Indiana or the County in which the Speedway resides proposing limitations on attendance or activities at this time, unless I've missed something?

      I think the planning you discuss is a worthwhile activity if the State or County is requiring it; otherwise, full speed ahead with "full fans". Individual fans can make their own decision whether or not to attend based on their personal comfort level and risk tolerance.

      I could see garage/pit access be limited. This appears to be the measure with the lowest impact on the attendees and the easiest to implement. Some of the others significantly impact participants or movements and I don't see them as likely. Masks - I'd pretty much forget about requiring them; local tracks are using the "recommended but not required" mask policy and I've seen very low mask usage in the grandstands, personally. Any "requirement" would be extremely difficult to police; track security is usually staffed to deal with a very limited number of fans who get "out of hand"; when you're talking a requirement that well over half of fans would ignore, it's impossible to enforce.

      Race fans are not the same as fans of many of the "stick and ball" type sports, and outdoor venues are very different than indoor arenas and venues. My own experience here post-"reopening" is that race fans as a group are extremely happy to attend and even to pack the track grandstands without social distancing measures being in place/enforced. Local dirt track 2 weeks ago was PACKED, fans not shoulder-to-shoulder but relatively dense compared to past year's regular "weekly" racing. Fans readily standing in a long line for admission, lines at the restrooms and concessions, etc. Fewer than 5% of people I saw actively wearing a mask. Local paved short track is getting close to a sell out for two events this coming weekend (limited to 50% capacity, though, by government mandate). Obviously a small data set on which to base a prediction, but my observation is that race fans as a general group are far less concerned with distancing measures than the general public.

      Just my opinion and prediction based on my own experiences. Others will agree or disagree.

      Comment


      • #4
        When someone figures out how to do an event with 5,000-10,000 fans with all those procedures we can start thinking about the massive Indy 500.

        Plus side Bristol on July 15th is scheduled for 30,000, so I guess see how that goes 1st.

        Comment


        • #5
          I wouldn’t want to be the Yellow Shirt responsible for controlling access to the restrooms.
          That deserves combat pay.
          “With the help of God and true friends, I come to realize
          I still got two strong legs, even wings to fly
          I ain’t wastin’ time no more...”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by HCNFAN View Post
            4. Concension will be open but no lines, all food will be ordered only by texting your order to the # on concension stand. Food will be delivered to the foot of the grandstand and you will be notified via text when the order arrives.
            Nope, not going to work until they have 100% cell coverage over the entire grandstand on race day. I've had multiple carriers over the past 20 years and I've never been able to send and receive texts on raceday between around 9am and 3pm.

            "The track will choose who's going to win."

            Tony Kanaan

            Comment


            • #7
              No restrictions or no race.. Refund all the money and start over for next year like nothing happened.

              Comment


              • #8
                Limiting fans to "one small cooler" and then limiting concessions. In late August in Indiana.

                Are we trying to prevent the spread of a 99% survivable disease, or create a major health crisis from heatstroke/dehydration?

                Comment


                • #9
                  They've probably already cancelled it, and they're using the refund process for the BY400 to iron out any wrinkles in that process before opening it up to the 100k plus they'll have to deal with.
                  http://www.honorflight.org/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RS2 View Post
                    No restrictions or no race.. Refund all the money and start over for next year like nothing happened.
                    I believe you've identified the thinking of the Penske organization and I of course could be wrong but I'm not seeing the 2020 race happening.

                    While the OP is elaborate, and I fall in the Gold category, that's just too complicated to be pulled off by the Speedway staff. At best it would mean calling 50,000 people in order of seniority to see what they want to do. It's less of a nightmare to allow people to roll their tickets over to next year just like a renewal which 80% probably do and accept the reality of a once in 100 years global pandemic.

                    The thing about Bristol aiming for 30,000 fans is they have probably only sold 60,000 in the past few years and they have about 150,000 seats so 1 in 5 is spread out they just have to convince people to sit in places they haven't been able to sell tickets for.
                    "You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
                    "They're criminals"
                    "Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dont even think tickets should roll over. That is not good for the cash flow next year. If it does not run then refund.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Should have clarified cooler size probably would not need to change if crowd size was limited

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The solution will have to be simple and surface fast.

                          At this point there’s not enough time to choreograph and implement any type of convoluted scheme. The administrative complications of sorting tiers of ticket holders based on seniority, trying to contact them and assuming a prompt response, etc., isn’t reasonable or realistic.

                          It’s good and interesting to discuss the situation, and all points of view and suggestions are cool...I enjoy them and applaud the effort. I’ve raised these concerns in several posts and usually folks didn’t directly address them, understandable because there were/are so many things to consider, with so many unknowns fogging the picture.

                          But something has to be decided and soon.

                          I bet they blow off August and shoot for October, giving IMS more time to put a plan in place if there are still restrictions then, or best, everything is back to “normal” and it’ll be an open, no-restrictions event.

                          That won’t eliminate the need to address ticket holders who can’t make the date, but that’s a manageable thing to deal with, with more time to iron it out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mke View Post
                            When someone figures out how to do an event with 5,000-10,000 fans with all those procedures we can start thinking about the massive Indy 500.

                            Plus side Bristol on July 15th is scheduled for 30,000, so I guess see how that goes 1st.
                            I think that's logical. Also should see how things go with Road America, which should have at least 20,000 both days. And Iowa.


                            I think the under appreciated fly in the ointment is the resistance of fans to attend events during the crisis. THE FOLLOWING IS NOT POLITICAL: One has to look at the Trump Campaign experience in Tulsa. One of the many factors involved is that the campaign admits they underestimated the resistance to attending an indoor event/outdoor event (there was to be an outside event as well) during the crisis.

                            Road America is going to be Indycar's first encounter with that. There will be fewer special procedures because of the unstructured nature of the venue. but concessions, rest rooms, etc., will be applicable. Iowa will be more comparable yet.

                            The good news is that Indiana/Illinois are not hotspots at the moment (but that could change).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RS2 View Post
                              I dont even think tickets should roll over. That is not good for the cash flow next year. If it does not run then refund.
                              Why do you say that? Most businesses I have been involved with go to great lengths to avoid cash refunds. You want to keep that bird in the hand.

                              Comment

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