INDIANAPOLIS — 2020 promises to be a busier than usual year when it comes to major sporting events in Indianapolis, starting with the biggest of them all, the Indianapolis 500. Here a look at what's on the schedule this year.
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Indy 500: The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be the first race staged at the speedway since its sale from Hulman & Company to the Penske Corporation was announced in November.
This is a big deal. The track has been under the Hulman umbrella since just after World War Two. Now, Roger Penske will be calling the shots.
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It all begins with the first day of practice on May 12 and ends on the 24th with the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500. Simon Pagenaud will attempt to become the first driver since Helio Castroneves in 2002 to win two consecutive 500's.
For those who come to the track for music, this year's concert lineup includes country music sensation Luke Bryan on the Saturday before the race.
Brickyard 400: Always one of the big events on the NASCAR calendar, this year's Brickyard has been moved from late to early-summer. It takes place Sunday, July 5, as part of the Fourth of July weekend. Kevin Harvick is the defending champ.
U.S. OLYMPIC DIVING TRIALS
Olympic Diving: The I.U. Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis has hosted the top U.S. divers since 1984. For the seventh time, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will be held at the Natatorium from June 14-21.
The men's and women's diving teams that will represent the U.S. at the summer games in Tokyo will be selected at this event.
NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL MEN'S BASKETBALL
NCAA Men's Midwest Regional: Lucas Oil Stadium is the site for the NCAA Men's Midwest Regionals on March 26 and 28.
Four teams will come to Indianapolis. One will go on to the Final Four in Atlanta.
Will we see Butler, I.U. or Purdue at Lucas this year? Stay tuned.
BIG TEN MEN's AND WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Big Ten Tournament: Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be a busy place in March. Besides the Pacers, the arena is home to both the Big Ten Women's and Men's basketball tournaments.
The women take to the court from March 4-to-8. As 2019 came to a close, the I.U. team was 12-2 and Purdue was 11-3. Both could be competing for the tournament title.
For five days, from March 11-to-15, the men from all 14 Big Ten schools will be here. The tournament winner earns an automatic place in the NCAA Tournament.
HORIZON LEAGUE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Horizon League Basketball Tournament: The Indianapolis-based Horizon League, IUPUI's conference, will decide its champion at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
Both the men's and women's tournament semi-final and finals will be held at the fairgrounds arena. The dates are March 9 and 10.
BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Big Ten Football Championship Game: The top two teams in the Big Ten will be at Lucas Oil Stadium in December.
The Big Ten Football Championship game is December 5. Neither Purdue nor IU has ever been. Could this be the year?
INDIANA FEVER: NEW COACH, TEMPORARY HOME
Indiana Fever: While one fieldhouse is renovated, another will serve as the temporary home of the WNBA Indiana Fever,
The Fever will play at Hinkle Fieldhouse this year and 2021 and part of 2022 while Bankers Life goes through a major renovation.
The Fever, who have not made the playoffs the last three seasons, have a new coach. Marianne Stanley was an assistant coach for the 2019 WNBA champs Washington Mystics.
Indiana Pacers: The Pacers took a 22-12 record into the new year. Not bad, considering Victor Oladipo has not returned from the serious knee injury he suffered last January.
The Pacers have been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round the last four seasons. This may be the year they advance deeper.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse will undergo a $360 million renovation, starting later this year and ending in 2022. Most of the work will be done during the months when the Pacer's aren't playing.
COLTS LOOK FOR IMPROVEMENT IN 2020
Colts look to improve: Colts fans know this fact all too well: The team that started the season 5-2 finished 7-9.
Between now and April, the team will work on its draft strategy. And does Jacoby Brissett keep his job as starting quarterback? About that, General Manager Chris Ballard says, "the jury is still out."
INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS: A NEW LOOK FOR VICTORY FIELD
Indianapolis Indians: Mark this date down: April 9 is opening night for the Indians at Victory Field, which will be in its 25th season as home to The Tribe.
The stadium will look a bit different. The Elements Financial Club is being built on the second level behind home plate. The team describes it as a "premium social space that includes 10 private four-person loge boxes and open-table club seats for season ticket and group opportunities."
INDY ELEVEN AND THE QUEST FOR A NEW STADIUM
Indy Eleven: The city's professional soccer team will begin and end this season without the soccer-specific stadium it wants.
Questions surround where a stadium would be located and exactly how to pay for it. For the time being, the Eleven will continue to use Lucas Oil Stadium for home games and Carroll Stadium when Lucas isn't available.
INDY FUEL: ARE PLAYOFFS IN THE FUTURE?
The Fuel started out the new year with a 15-15-1 record.
Will the city's team make it to the ECHL playoffs? That question will be answered between now and early-April.