This Ticket Is Truly A Keepsake
I will admit that I was a bit worried. I received an e-mail from IMS on Thursday March 17th, informing me that my tickets had been shipped. Just a day or so earlier, I had seen photos on social media of the rows of bins containing the famous blue envelope about to be loaded onto mail trucks. It didn’t take long for people to start posting pictures of their new tickets on social media.
For days, I saw these pictures and I had no tickets. Last Wednesday night, I went so far as to post my concern on social media and asked “…should I be worried”. Some said no, while others said I should start fretting.
Finally, the tickets came on Friday. I breathed a sigh of relief when I opened the mailbox and saw a slightly larger and heavier version of the familiar blue envelope that comes each spring. Usually, they are very nondescript with only a P.O. Box and a Speedway, Indiana zip code. This year, the bigger blue envelope says Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the actual street address. Granted, it’s a very slight difference but it does seem to announce Tickets to would-be thieves, more in this new version.
Most that read this site know what a traditionalist I am. I do not like most change, unless I see a reason for it. The tickets for the Indianapolis 500 have always been a keepsake item. Somewhere in my mother’s house is the ticket to the 1965 Indianapolis 500 – my first. It had a picture of AJ Foyt as well as his winning car from the previous year and still referred to the race as the 49th International Sweepstakes.
At some point, they dropped the Sweepstakes terminology, but as long as I can remember they’ve always put a picture of the previous year’s winner on the front of the ticket. Ten years ago, the ticket featured a photo of Dan Wheldon’s winning car from the top down. What was most notable was that the words “90th Running” had been burned or cut out through the ticket. It was very unique, but I’m sure very expensive. They have not done that since.
I hope that IMS never goes to what most events have gone to – e-tickets that go directly to your phone. While it may be handy for buying a hockey ticket online on the day of the game, it certainly doesn’t give you that nice souvenir to throw into your top drawer when you get home the night of the game.
But hockey and football games are not special events. There are several throughout the year. The Indianapolis 500 is a once-a-year event that has now taken place ninety-nine times. Something like that deserves something better than an e-ticket through the Ticketmaster app.
Fortunately, Doug Boles and his staff at IMS are taking things a different direction. Rather than the usual card-stock cardboard ticket, they decided to give the 100th Running the special treatment it deserves. For this year (and I presume this year only), the race ticket features a photo of last year’s winner, Juan Montoya, hoisting his arms in celebration of his second victory in Victory Lane. What is different is that the photo is somehow affixed to a hard, clear plastic sheet. Not only does the ticket look and feel different – they’ve even provided a slot up at the top of the ticket for a lanyard to fit directly through, so that you don’t have to slip your ticket inside of a clear sleeve that may or may not fit.
They didn’t stop there. There is an old rule in product marketing that says “packaging is everything”. Instead of the usual rubber band holding the tickets together inside the standard blue envelope, this year they’ve provided a cardboard sleeve or display stand with the race logo and the schedule for the entire month of May.
Many of you reading this have yet to receive your tickets. My two brothers haven’t received theirs. All three of us sit in Stand A, but two of us sit together. I have mine and he doesn’t. My One Take Only cohort, John McLallen, lives ten minutes from my house and also sits in Stand A. He doesn’t have his yet, either. I know that the tickets went out in waves, so don’t panic if you haven’t gotten yours yet.
But if you have gotten yours, you’ve seen first-hand what I’m talking about. We like to complain about a lot of things regarding IndyCar and some of the changes that have taken place over the years regarding the Indianapolis 500. But I’m going against my natural tendency to resist change and embrace everything about these new tickets. I like the clever packaging and I love the look of the clear plastic ticket that can hang directly from a lanyard.
Hats off to Doug Boles, his staff and whoever came up with the idea to create such a special keepsake for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500. They hit a home run this time.