Apr 25, 2020 - Sports

Sports leagues and ticket providers face criticism and lawsuits over ticket refunds

Ticket booth at Fenway Park

Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Sports fans are getting antsy as professional leagues, teams and retailers fail to refund them for the cost of tickets after the coronavirus shut down the world of live, professional sports.

Why it matters: An estimated $1 billion in consumer capital is currently held by franchises and ticket vendors, USA Today reports. Teams aren't sure whether they will be able to play some or any of the previously scheduled games, but they are holding on to ticket revenue as 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment.

  • Inaction from teams and retailers prompted a class-action lawsuit earlier this week over 2020 MLB tickets, with defendants claiming they "are aware that their representations that the 2020 MLB regular season will be played is false and misleading.”

The state of play:

  • The MLB has told teams to treat games like rainouts so fans are more likely to hold onto their tickets, per USA Today.
  • NBA and NHL season-ticket holders also wonder what will happen to the remaining 5-10 games of the season, but they say they have received invoices for 2020-2021 tickets, rather than refunds.
  • NHL spokesperson John Dellapina told USA Today that ticketing policies are up to individual teams, but the NBA and MLB teams are following the guidance of league teams — who recommend treating games as "postponed."

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