Two fans have filed a lawsuit against MLB and other ticket vendors, demanding a refund for games that will not be played. Even though it’s complicated, MLB should do the right thing issue refunds.
On Tuesday, it was announced that two fans have sued MLB, demanding a refund of tickets for games that have not been played due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Reuters, “Ticketmaster, its parent Live Nation Entertainment Inc, StubHub and Last Minute Transactions are also defendants.”
On the surface, it does seem unfair that MLB teams, along with the other ticket vendors, have refused to issue refunds for any games. Aside from those who have gotten sick due to the outbreak, there are many people who have taken a big financial hit because of this situation. It would be a good gesture for the league and its clubs to come up with a plan to start issuing refunds.
That being said, it’s a little complicated. The league has not yet officially cancelled any games. And though no plan has been put into place, there have been a lot of discussions about still trying to play as many games as possible this season. At this time, its unclear how many games will be cancelled or which games the league will attempt to play, so it would be hard to say for which games the league should issue refunds, if any.
However, as we are almost a month into what was supposed to be the MLB season and with no imminent plans to return to play, we have to conclude that it’s unrealistic that there will be a 162-game season this year. And even if we were to have something close to it, the games will likely be at neutral sites, and fans probably won’t be allowed to attend, at least at the beginning.
All that aside, it seems likely that the schedule will have to be altered as well. If the league wants to play anything resembling a fair schedule, they’ll have to draw up a whole new calendar of games. There’s also been talk of playing doubleheaders to help make up games, which would complicate the ticket matter all the more.
Because of that, the league should stop delaying and come up with a plan to issue refunds as soon as possible. Then, if we do reach a point this season where fans can attend games — either in their home ballparks or in Arizona, Florida, and/or Texas, as has been discussed – the teams can start over again and sell tickets to those games.
Yes, issuing refunds would be a financial hit for the league. But this is one of those situations where they risk alienating many fans if they don’t put the well-being of the fans first. Hopefully, the league and its vendors will do something soon, before this situation gets ugly.