If a game is rained out you get a rain check, you don’t get your money back. If a game is simply cancelled — taken off the schedule entirely — you get a refund. In related news, Major League Baseball is currently treating games that haven’t been played due to the COVID-19 pandemic as “postponements” rather than “cancellations.” Because of that, teams have been allowed teams to keep the proceeds from ticket sale.
And that just got two teams sued. It could, potentially, be a class action.
Two fans — Matthew Ajzenman, bought a partial season plan for more than 20 Mets games and Susan Terry-Bazer, purchased six tickets for a May 9 game at Yankee Stadium against Boston — have sued Major League Baseball, Commissioner Rob Manfred, all 30 teams, Ticketmaster, Stubhub, Live Nation and other defendants asking for their money back for tickets and for certification of class-action status. The suit was filed in federal court in Los Angeles.
From the lawsuit:
“Baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis . . . Under the pretext of `postponing’ games, at the directive of MLB, teams and ticket merchants are refusing to issue refunds for games which are not going to be played as scheduled — if ever . . . The defendants continue to retain enormous profits from tickets sold for the 2020 MLB season at the expense of fans’ financial hardship.”
The suit is being brought under California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law and alleges claims of civil conspiracy.
Major League Baseball has not commented on the suit, but it has previously said that it will develop a policy regarding tickets already sold once a decision is made on how to play — and whether to play — the 2020 season. Jesse Rogers of ESPN reports that, according to his sources, teams are likely to offer credit toward tickets for 2021 if no games are played this summer.
Whether a court will determine that it’s fair for a billion dollar industry to, in effect, take involuntary, year-long, zero-interest loans from ordinary consumers, which is what a “credit toward 2021 tickets” plan is an open question.