The NFL has been the sports league least affected schedule-wise by the COVID-19 pandemic so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s not making plans in case that changes.
In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell outlined a basic ticket refund policy for all 32 teams in the event that games are played without fans or completely canceled.
“All clubs will have in place a policy under which, if a game is canceled, or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending, anyone purchasing a ticket directly from the club [i.e., season tickets, group sales and/or partial season plans] will have the option of either receiving a full refund or applying the amount paid toward a future ticket purchase directly from the club.”
This policy applies to only those who have purchased tickets directly from NFL teams – not the secondary market. According to the AP, Ticketmaster (the NFL’s official ticket exchange) and Seatgeek pledged to make full refunds available within 30 days of cancellation, though it’s unclear if they’ll offer refunds if games are played without fans. StubHub, which is MLB’s official ticket exchange, will not automatically offer refunds for canceled NFL games and will do so only if required by state law.
The refund policy is one of a few contingencies the NFL put in place to prepare for an altered season, something that it couldn’t avoid doing, especially as the NBA, NHL and MLB continue to endure significant suspensions or delays to their seasons.
“In preparing for all elements of the 2020 season, including the schedule release, we have considered the unique circumstances facing us this year,” Goodell wrote, “and have been clear that all of our decisions will be guided by medical and public health advice and will comply with government regulations. We will be prepared to make necessary adjustments just as we have in other contexts, such as the offseason program and the draft.
“I believe the policies that clubs have in place will serve the league and all member clubs in a variety of ways and will allow us to continue preparing for the 2020 season while also protecting the interests of our fans.”
The 2020 schedule will be released on Thursday night during a three-hour show on ESPN.
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