Many people have been critical of Major League Baseball’s policy to not offer refunds for postponed games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has gotten so much criticism that a couple fans sued MLB, the teams, and ticket merchants for the practice.
According to ESPN, Major League Baseball will now allow teams to offer refunds for games “currently not being played” due to the pandemic. MLB has previously considered their games “postponed” and like a rain delay, they considered COVID-19 affected games like that and tickets bought would be valid for the makeup date.
A pandemic, however, is not a rain delay and now it’s getting more and more obvious fans won’t be attending games for the foreseeable future. Even if a full season is played and in the unlikely scenario fans would be able to go to games, we’re already a month into what would’ve been this MLB season so it’s getting more and more impossible to not only make up these games, but count on people to disregard social distancing to go to these games. The resistance to offer refunds came across as greedy as MLB teams were desperate to keep the ticket revenue they already received.
While it is an improvement teams will be able to offer refunds, it’s important to note that refunds isn’t a requirement and it’s up to each team to have their own COVID-19 ticketing policy. How many teams will actually offer refunds is unknown but one scenario most teams will consider is a credit to put toward games taking place in 2021. It’s not a refund but a credit for 2021 at least gives plenty of time that fans will hopefully be safely welcomed back by then.
That might not be enough for some and the move to 2021 can still be seen as teams trying to keep ticket revenue. For those who have already bought tickets and are having issues trying to get their money back, it may be a situation where teams fighting too hard to keep ticket revenue might do so at the cost of losing an existing customer.