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Roger Goodell reveals NFL ticket refund policy amid pandemic

A general view during a severe weather delay

A general view during a severe weather delay during the first quarter between the Giants and Jets at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 8, 2019. Credit: Brad Penner

The NFL continues to plan for a full season with fans in attendance at all stadiums, but if the coronavirus pandemic limits the number of games played and/or fans being able to attend them, the league has formulated a ticket refund policy.

Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams on Tuesday, outlining the procedures for potential cancellations or restricted fan attendance. The memo, a copy of which was obtained by Newsday, states that “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.”

He added that 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 Jets announced Wednesday that individual tickets will not go on sale Thursday when the NFL schedule is released because of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. The team also said it will defer the next scheduled season ticket payment that was previously scheduled to be charged in June. The Jets previously deferred the April and May payments.

The Jets also said that if any games are canceled or played in conditions that prevents fans from attending, ticket holders can request a full refund for the face value of their tickets or apply the amount toward a future ticket purchase in 2021.

“The Jets refund policy does not apply for any unverified tickets purchased from secondary ticketing sites,” the team said. “Tickets purchased on Ticketmaster and other designated NFL secondary ticketing sites will only be verified once the Jets begin the sale of individual tickets at a future date.”

The Giants are planning to announce their ticket policy but said they weren't ready to do that on Wednesday.

The Jets said in a statement that they are “preparing to play the 2020 NFL season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel, and attendees. We will make any necessary adjustments in order to conduct games in as safe and efficient manner as possible, with all decisions based on the latest advice of medical and public health officials, as well as in full compliance with current and future government regulations.”

While the NFL has contingency plans if conditions preclude the season from proceeding in its entirety, Thursday’s schedule announcement will include the full 16-game regular season format. The Super Bowl  currently is set for Feb. 4, 2021 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

“In preparing for all elements of the 2020 season, including the schedule release, we have considered the unique circumstances facing us this year and have been clear that all of our decisions will be guided by medical and public health advice and will comply with government regulations,” Goodell wrote. “We will be prepared to make necessary adjustments just as we have in other contexts, such as the (2020) off-season program and the draft.”

Goodell also said the ticket refund policies “will offer a uniform, baseline approach that recognizes current conditions and accommodates fan interests and concerns. We have also worked with the League’s licensed ticketing partners to understand their individual refund policies with respect to NFL game tickets transacted on their platforms, and to drive as much consistency as possible with club policies.”

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