Major League Baseball, its 30 teams, and official ticketing resale partners were sued in federal court by two fans who have unsuccessfully attempted to get refunds for postponed games due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
If successful, the fans’ suit — which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles — would allow baseball fans who purchased tickets to games already wiped away this spring to get a full refund.
The 2020 Major League Baseball season was poised to start on March 26, but the outbreak of COVID-19 forced commissioner Rob Manfred to cancel spring training and postpone Opening Day.
As of Monday, there have already been over 350 total MLB games called off and with the league looking for ways to return to action, the only viable option for a quick return is having no fans in attendance.
That means those who purchased season or single-game tickets before the coronavirus outbreak face the possibility of losing out on their entire investment this year.
“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 ticket-resale partners who have been named are StubHub, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, and Last Minute Transactions.
Per Shaikin, the suit disclosed that “well over 100″ fans are willing to come forward with the “amount in controversy … exceeds $5 million.”
But with Major League Baseball listing the lost games as postponed rather than canceled, fans are being advised to hold onto their tickets and hope for a rescheduled date — thus providing a loophole for ticket providers not to issue refunds yet.
While fans wait for sports to return, MLB has discussed playing neutral-site games in front of no fans, thus isolating their players to help ensure their health and safety.
Earlier this month, an idea to place all 30 teams in Arizona was tabled and believed to have the most momentum. However, CBS Sports reported on Monday night that the league is discussing the idea of putting teams in Arizona, Florida, and Texas.