St. Pete Broadcast Schedule; Selling Limted Number of Tickets

The broadcast schedule for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is out. Notable is the delayed television broadcast of qualifying. Qualifying will be shown live on NBC Gold for those who have purchased it. This qualifying sesion will be just the second traditional knock out qualifying leading the Fast Six this year. I have missed the Fast Six format, although I have enjoyed the way the grid is set for the double headers. The broadcast schedule:

Oct24 Saturday Practice 10:55 AM – 12:25 PM ET

Oct24 Saturday Qualifications (Live) 3:05 – 4:20 PM ET

Oct24 Saturday Qualifications (Delay) 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET

Oct25 Sunday Warmup 10:40 – 11:10 AM ET

Oct25 Sunday Pre-Race 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET

Oct25 Sunday Race 2:30 – 4:30 PM ET

Yesterday afternoon, Green Savoree, the race promoter, put a limited number of tickets on sale. the event has a 20,000 fan limit per day. Ticket holders who had seats for the original March date received an email yesterday with a reassigned seat. In my case, I am in the same grandstand, same section, but just four rows lower than my regular location. I even retained the same seat number.

Whenj the March race was cancelled the promoters gave ticketholders the opportunity to get a credit for the 2021 race. i know several fans who took advantage of that offer. Some were unhappy because there was no cash refund option. I’m disappointed that Green Savoree did not extend a similar deferral until 2021 option to those who kept their tickets, but who cannot for one reason or another go to this race. I have chosen not to attend because of the pandemic. I know of another fan, who I believe has been to every St. Pete race, also in this situation.

I understand this promoter has been hit the hardest by the schedule upheaval this year. They have lost two races entirely, Toronto and Portland, were allowed just 6,000 fans per day at Mid Ohio, and were in danger of losing this event completely as well. It is a sham that the good will of the fans takes a backseat to their bottom line.

Back on the Streets Again- For Now

Today’s announcement that the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is now the season finale could ensure the NTT Indycar Series has at least one street race this season. The original opener was cancelled, as were Long Beach and the doubleheader at Detroit. Toronto is on the schedule as of now, but I’m still not sure that race will happen. While I am glad the race is rescheduled, I know several ticketholders who will not be able to attend on the new date. Some of these are not happy with Green Savoree’s  options, either.

Official announcement-

In an email from Green Savoree just received:

“Thank you, race fans, for your continued patience.
We are thrilled to have announced some great news. In cooperation with the City of St. Petersburg, Firestone, and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg has been rescheduled for October 23-25, 2020. Read more here.
We hope that you will join us in October to crown the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion at the season finale race on the streets of St. Petersburg. Your existing tickets will be valid for use on the new event dates and no further action will be required.
For those fans who will not be able to attend in October, alternative options as previously announced include the deferral of purchased tickets for use at the March 2021 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, or a credit for use at another Green Savoree Racing Promotions event during the 2020 or 2021 season. “
Fans unable to attend have until June 15 to choose one of the other ticket  options.
Green Savoree could have lost two races this year if St. Pete hadn’t been rescheduled and Toronto can’t go on. Their Portland race will be run without fans since the  governor of Oregon has ordered no fans at sports event through September 30.
This is  quite a feat to reschedule a street race. It takes a lot of coordination and cooperation from the promoters, the series and the city. I am surprised that this became a reality but Mayor Rick Kriseman has been a huge supporter of the race. If the race happens, it will help St. Petersburg recoup some of the revenue lost from  the aborted Spring Break season in March.
The date is significant for another reason. It is three weeks after the new Harvest Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That is a big enough window just in case the Indianapolis 500 needs to be moved to October from its new August date. If you’re a fan of uncertainty, this is your year. Should the 500 need to move, the schedule would reflect May in that a street race would follow the 500.
Another good thing about this date is that Indycar will be racing in October. if things go well, perhaps October races could become a regular part of the schedule when things return to normal. I have always thought September is too early to end the season.  At least for one year, we will have a short off season.
If the schedule holds, There would be two St. Pete races in a row- the 2020 finale and the 2021 opener. It might not be worth the time for the city to remove the track.