MLB and its teams hit with class-action lawsuit over non-refunded tickets

We’re nearly a month into what would have been the 2020 MLB regular season, and not a single game has been played due to the coronavirus pandemic. Not a single game has been officially canceled either.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

Rather, the league has advised clubs to officially postpone games, as if this whole thing is one big rainout with no end in sight. That has prevented many fans from getting refunds for games that they are very unlikely to ever be able to attend.

One class-action lawsuit is seeking to change that.

Filed in federal court on Monday by two fans who were unable to procure refunds, the lawsuit alleges violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Unfair Competition Law and of civil conspiracy, according to ABC News.

Among the reported defendants are MLB, all 30 of its clubs and ticket companies StubHub, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Last Minutes Transactions.

Part of the lawsuit, from the Los Angeles Times:

“While many businesses across this country have acted lawfully and ethically by providing consumers with refunds for events that will never occur during this pandemic, sometimes at the risk of bankruptcy, it remains notable that America’s pastime — baseball — is refusing to do right by its fans,” the lawsuit reads. “As stadiums remain empty for the foreseeable future, baseball fans are stuck with expensive and unusable tickets for unplayable games in the midst of this economic crisis.”

The lawsuit also argues that even if games are played this year, they almost certainly won’t be played with fans in attendance.

It isn’t wrong there. Nearly every proposed plan to salvage the season has featured games being played in isolation, and health experts aren’t even bothering to guess when it will be safe to allow crowds back into sports stadiums.

It’s worth noting that MLB hasn’t said it won’t refund tickets once games are canceled; it probably just doesn’t want to eat the loss earlier than it has to. Still, there are probably many fans out there who could use the money right now as the economy is brought to a standstill.

Yankee Stadium remains closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Thursday, March 26, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. To baseball fans, opening day is an annual rite of spring that evokes great anticipation and warm memories. This year's season was scheduled to begin Thursday, but there will be no games for a while because of the coronavirus outbreak. Major League Baseball has postponed opening day until mid-May at the earliest. (John Woike/Samara Media via AP)
MLB parks are empty, but the league isn't refunding tickets yet. (John Woike/Samara Media via AP)

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