Posted by Will Brinson
If the NFL eventually ends up in a serious labor issue (for purposes of the post, "serious" means "missing regular season games"), there's going to be a big problem with tickets, because plenty of them will have already been purchased.
To that extent, the NFL has announced that it, as first reported by Michael McCarthy of USA Today, will offer a full refund on all general admission tickets purchased to any preseason or regular games that are cancelled by a work stoppage.
Downside: this won't extend to PSL's, club tickets or luxury boxes. Those choices will be determined by each of the NFL's 32 clubs on an individual basis.
The NFL estimated that, based on this policy, it will pay out between $7 and $8 million per game that's refunded -- which is a nice number to throw around for public support, especially when you multiply it by 16 games per week.
Season ticket holders will have a choice as to how they want their refund -- either in the method they paid (credit card refund, check, etc.) or as a credit for future ticket purchases (which seems less awesome in these economic times). Fans who buy individual tickets have the same options -- a refund or a credit towards a future purchase, and both groups will be reimbursed "no later than 30 days after the final determination of how many games will be played" in 2011.
It's a smart policy, for two reasons. First, if folks think they won't get a refund for purchasing tickets, there's zero chance they'll gamble on the NFL playing games in 2011 by planning trips to see their favorite teams. And secondly, this adds to the hypothetical losses the NFL is incurring in a hypothetical situation where there's no football being played in 2011; currying fan favor is critical in terms of the PR battle over the labor negotiations, and the NFL would be silly not to appear to incur losses on this while also acting generously towards the everyday fan.
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