Major League Baseball franchises are largely adhering to a simple choice for the consumer as they roll out ticket refund policies for games postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take your money now or receive more baseball later – whenever that may be.
With MLB directing its 30 clubs to develop ticket refund policies for games scheduled in March, April and May, clubs are offering single- and season-ticket holders the option of keeping their tickets and receiving bonuses on their accounts ranging from 5% to 25%, a figure that can be applied to this season or 2021.
Yet with the possibility that the entire 2020 season may be wiped out or played without fans, you can simply get your money back, too. As of Thursday afternoon, 25 of 30 teams had revealed options for postponed games, with all confirming refunds are available – some more explicitly than others.
All teams are offering the credit or refund options for games scheduled through April, while some extended that period through May. That window figures to grow as the likelihood of baseball played before fans in June and beyond diminishes.
“At this time, we are able to issue credits or refunds for games in March, April and May 2020. We are working with Major League Baseball and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a variety of contingency plans to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” the Tampa Bay Rays told ticket-holders in an email and message posted to their web site, a message echoed elsewhere.
While television has become baseball’s golden goose, ticket sales and local revenue comprise some 40% of the industry’s estimated $10.5 billion in annual revenue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a majority of club emails or online posts detailing their COVID-19 postponement policies lead with the credit option.
A 1,200-word explainer from the Minnesota Twins only mentions refunds for single-game purchases; it does not explicitly detail refunds as an option for season-ticket holders, whose accounts will automatically receive a 15% bonus credit. Season-ticket holders are only encouraged to contact their sales representative “if they wish to discuss their holdings further.” And refunds are available via that avenue, the club confirmed.
The New York Mets posted a 1,284-word policy Thursday afternoon, focusing heavily on credits. The word "refund" does appear — 1,174 words deep.
The larger point for ticket-holders: If you don’t like what you’re reading, just ask. Relief is probably available.
Here’s a look at 25 of the 30 teams’ refund policies, which only cover tickets purchased directly from the club and not through a third-party service:
Atlanta Braves: Single-game ticket-holders can receive refunds for games through May or retain credit for games later this season. Season-ticket holders will receive 10% bonus if they opt for credit in 2021 or ’22.
Baltimore Orioles: Refunds for games through May 31 available; requests must be received by June 30. Single-game and season-ticket holders offered 25% bonus if they choose account credits for use from 2020-22.
Boston Red Sox: Refunds available for games scheduled through May 28, for both single-game and season-ticket buyers. Single-game purchases can receive a credit or exchange for a future 2020 game. Season-ticket holders receive 10% bonus for 2020 or ’21 credits.
Chicago Cubs: Refunds for March-May home games will be processed in the next two weeks for single-game ticket-holders. Season-ticket holders can receive refunds or a credit and 5% bonus.
Chicago White Sox: Single-game ticket-holders can access refunds for games through May at the White Sox’s Ticketmaster link; season-ticket holders will be contacted by their ticket agent, with options including refund or credit with unspecified bonus.
Cincinnati Reds: Single-game and season-ticket refunds for games through May available until Sept. 20; a 10% concession bonus applied to season-ticket holders who opt for credit.
Cleveland Indians: March-April home games available for refund through May 15; all ticket-holders will receive 10% account bonus if they choose credit.
Detroit Tigers: Single-game and season-ticket holders can seek refunds for all April and May games through service representatives. Those opting for credit will receive a 30% bonus – the largest among all clubs.
Kansas City Royals: Will grant refunds for games through May 6, but ticket-holders must contact the club directly and request the refund, according to The Kansas City Star. Season-ticket holders opting for credit will receive a 5% bonus for 2021, a 25% discount on parking for 2020 and a guaranteed price freeze for 2021 season tickets.
Los Angeles Angels: The club is "working with fans one-on-one to respond to their requests. If games are not played or played in an empty stadium, Angels Baseball will continue to work with fans on a credit for a future game or a refund based upon the fan’s request," says company spokeswoman Marie Garvey.
Los Angeles Dodgers: For March and April postponements, ticket-holders can request refunds by calling 866-DODGERS and choosing option 6; season-ticket holders opting for credit will receive a 10% account bonus that can be used for tickets or parking in 2020-21.
Miami Marlins: Single-game and season-ticket holders must request refunds for games through May in writing via email ([email protected]) or by writing the club. Those opting for 2020-21 credit will receive 10% bonus.
Milwaukee Brewers: For games through April, season-ticket holders can receive credit and a 10% bonus, and are directed to contact ticket reps for refunds. Single-game ticket holders may apply online for refunds, or receive credit.
Minnesota Twins: Single-game ticket holders can seek refunds for April games at twinsbaseball.com/refund or retain their account credit. Season-ticket holders can contact ticket reps for refunds or retain credits as well as a 15% bonus for 2020 or 2021.
New York Mets: Single-game and season-ticket holders can apply for refunds of April games only via their My Mets Account beginning May 7. Season-ticket holders will receive a 20% bonus on credits, while single-game accounts receive a 10% bonus.
Oakland Athletics: Single-game ticket holders for March-May games will be offered refunds. Multi-game plan holders can request a refund online by May 15 or apply credits to 2021 accounts with a 5% bonus and retention of priority status for seating in potential new stadium.
Philadelphia Phillies: Refunds or credit available to ticket-holders for games through May, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Refunds for April and May games available by phone or email; season-ticket holders choosing 2020-21 credit will receive a 15% bonus, while single-game ticket-holders get a 10% bonus.
St. Louis Cardinals: Season-ticket holders will receive credit for future games, or can email the club or contact an account representative for refunds. Single-game tickets will be automatically refunded.
San Diego Padres: Refunds through May available via season-ticket rep, or Ticketmaster account for single-game holders. Season-ticket holders will receive “a loyalty credit that includes a package of benefits designed to thank our most loyal fans for their continued support of the Padres.”
San Francisco Giants: For games through May, single-game tickets can be refunded via the method of payment. Season-ticket holders can opt for a refund or a 5% bonus applied toward 2021 tickets.
Seattle Mariners: Single-game refunds for games through May 31 are available through Ticketmaster. Season-ticket holders may request refunds through their ticket representatives or receive a credit automatically by May 8.
Tampa Bay Rays: Refunds for March-May single-game tickets available through May 8; ticket-holders must respond to club email. Season-ticket holders must email ticket rep by May 31. All ticket-holders have credit option with 25% bonus for Tropicana Field merchandise and concessions.
Texas Rangers: Single-game tickets through April are available for refund by emailing [email protected]; season-ticket holders will be contacted by ticket representatives, and would receive a concession and merchandise bonus if they retain their tickets.
Toronto Blue Jays: Games through May 31 are available for refund via Ticketmaster for single-game seats; season-ticket holders will receive a credit unless they indicate they’d prefer a refund.
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