MLB changes ticket policy, allows for ticket refunds on canceled games

MLB ticket holders wondering what’s to become of their tickets to games canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic could soon have an answer.

Refunds may be on the way.

Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser confirmed on Tuesday that MLB is giving teams the green light to start rolling out their own individual ticket refund policies. It’s expected that teams will start releasing those in the next few days.

Canceled instead of postponed

The news confirms a report from the Wall Street Journal that an earlier policy classifying missed games as postponed is shifting. Now those games will be considered canceled, freeing up teams to issue refunds. How refunds are handled will be up to individual teams.

Keyser also confirmed a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser that some teams have already been quietly issuing refunds to fans claiming financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Policy arrives after lawsuit

The news arrives a week after fans in California filed a class-action lawsuit demanding refunds from MLB, its 30 teams and ticket brokers StubHub, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Last Minutes Transactions.

From the lawsuit, as reported by 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.”

It is not clear how MLB’s new policy will affect transactions conducted through ticket brokers.

With fans barred from stadiums for the foreseeable future, MLB has cleared the path for ticket refunds. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

MLB canceled the remainder of spring training on March 13 and suspended the regular season that was scheduled to begin on March 26. No games have been played, and there is no plan in place to play 2020 season games amid the coronavirus outbreak.

If and when MLB does return this season, there’s a likelihood that games will be played without fans in the stands, meaning there’s little hope of a lot of these tickets being put to use.

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