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Milwaukee giving away tickets to fill seats
Getting a seat for the Milwaukee 225 Sunday won't be a problem.

Now getting two has become easier. The promoters added a limited buy-one-get-one-free deal to their ticket options Thursday afternoon.

Most people saw talk of a sellout as wildly optimistic when the IZOD IndyCar Series announced in September that it would return to the Milwaukee Mile. It was an understandable if unreachable goal.

But this? On first glance, at least, it smacks of desperation.

"I think that's going too far," countered Chris McGrath, head of AB Promotions which has rented the track from State Fair Park to put on the race.

"We always knew this was a building year. We had to bring the race back first - that's how we looked at it on a three-year plan - the second year was 'build it,' and the third year being in a position to really blow it up.

"This is a way for us to sort of apologize for the cars not being here (in 2010) - even though we had nothing to do with it - it's a chance to get people back, it's an acknowledgment that times are tough and sort of a statement that we want to do what's necessary to keep racing here."

The promotional group faced three main obstacles when it took on this project: a short time between the deal coming together and the race in June, a lack of momentum from the series being away last year and ill will created by previous promoters.

The Milwaukee market has its share of die-hard fans, but the overall size of the crowd Sunday will send a strong signal about whether enough people care enough to justify an IndyCar event at the Mile.

McGrath wouldn't get into specifics Thursday on the number of tickets sold. There are about 38,000 seats, and the infield adds a few thousand to the track's capacity.

A quick run Thursday through the seating chart on the milwaukeemile2011.com website showed some grandstand sections sold out or all but sold out while others were one-quarter to one-third full. One section of reserved bleacher seats in the fourth turn had about 90% of its seats still available.

This latest ticket deal will work this way, according to a track spokesman: People buying online will request the number of tickets they want, and although the full price will initially be shown, the charge will be adjusted upon checkout, much like a sale at any store. People who have bought tickets already will be able to get their extras at the gate Sunday.

"If I had 30,000 seats sold, I'd want to get rid of the other 10ish so that was something we always had in our hopper no matter what," McGrath said of the two-for-one. "It's going to be a limited thing. It's not going to be until the house is full, but it is a push to get some new people out to the track."

And some old ones, too. JSOnline

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