While planning to play a full regular-season schedule, the NFL has formulated a ticket refund plan for canceled games or those held without fans.
In a memo sent to the 32 teams by Commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, a uniform baseline for full refunds on any tickets purchased directly from the clubs was prepared.
Goodell wrote that “all clubs will have in place a policy under which, if a game is cancelled, or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending, anyone purchasing a ticket directly from the club (i.e., season tickets, group sales and/or partial season plans) will have the option of either receiving a full refund or applying the amount paid toward a future ticket purchase directly from the club.”
As for the secondary market, the league received pledges from Ticketmaster and SeatGeek to make full refunds available for all ticket sales within no more than 30 days of cancellation. StubHub, however, will do so only where required by state law.
The NFL will reveal its 2020 regular-season schedule on Thursday night. While it is discussing contingencies for alterations to the schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic, it currently is planning for a normal season.
“In preparing for all elements of the 2020 season, including the schedule release, we have considered the unique circumstances facing us this year,” Goodell wrote, “and have been clear that all of our decisions will be guided by medical and public health advice and will comply with government regulations. We will be prepared to make necessary adjustments just as we have in other contexts, such as the offseason program and the draft.
“I believe the policies that clubs have in place will serve the league and all member clubs in a variety of ways and will allow us to continue preparing for the 2020 season while also protecting the interests of our fans.”
Each team will communicate directly with its fans over the next few days with specific details on potential refunds.
Although contingency plans hardly are a regular procedure for the NFL, the specter of significant changes to the season, from delays to a shortened schedule, have to be considered this year. Each season, NFL teams and the league office re-examine what they term “fan friendly” ticket refund policies.
The 2020 season is set to kick off on Sept. 10, with the first full weekend of games on Sept. 13-14.
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