/ Travel & Leisure

How are sports clubs handling pandemic-hit season tickets?

Season ticket refunds have been a contentious topic since COVID-19 disrupted the world of sport. Our guest explains how English football clubs are approaching the situation.

This is a guest post by Matt Woosnam. All views expressed are Matt’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

As the new Premier League season is set to begin, there are still many questions left to answer for supporters, particularly surrounding tickets.

But I believe that what remains essential is that nobody is left out of pocket or somehow effectively penalised for whatever personal decision they take.

With fans not allowed inside stadiums until October 1 at the earliest, the prospect of potential local lockdowns, and uncertainty around when things will return to ‘normal’, it’s a difficult time for clubs and fans across sport.

Cancelled or postponed events: can I get my money back?

A minefield of ticket-sale policies

How then, do clubs navigate the minefield of selling tickets for games which are not only uncertain to go ahead with crowds in the first place, but also limits on the number of spectators permitted?

There have been varying policies, with some opting for what is effectively a credit system: pay up front for a season ticket, take your chance in a ballot, and for each game you are allocated, have the pro-rated value deducted from that ‘credit’.

Elsewhere there have been clubs selling tickets on a match-by-match basis rather than as a full season ticket.

For those who do not want to take the risk of attending, but want to keep hold of their seat, some are being given the option of “season-ticket holidays”.

Putting fans first

Regardless of what clubs decide to do, those in the Premier League in particular must surely put fans at the forefront of their considerations.

People who are clinically vulnerable, feel uncomfortable or even just believe there is little value in attending while observing social distancing, should not find themselves forced to choose between finances and perceived loyalty.

It’s more important than ever that supporters are either consulted, or at least given options which are more suitable in this challenging economic climate.

Many will be prepared to go that little bit further to secure their seats, but loyalty is not something which should be taken for granted.

Are you a season ticket holder for a football club, or another sport? How’s your club handling season ticket sales?

Let me know in the comments if you think the process has been fair and are confident you can obtain a refund if you need to.

This was a guest post by Matt Woosnam. All views expressed were Matt’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Comments

Crysta Palace process seems quite immoral.
The club knows that most fans aren’t going to more the half a dozen games yet are charging for 17 with a refund at the end of the season. Feels like they have major cash flow or admin problems.
As a max the charge should be half price and then any additional games added later.

Darryl says:
8 September 2020

This isn’t the only issue with Crystal Palace’s ‘policy’. They’re asking fans who do not wish to attend to pay £200 to secure their seat for the following season, plus asking for medical proof that they are shielding- so if you are not shielding (and I’m unsure if anyone actually is under current confusing government guidelines) you have no choice but to renew or lose your seat and your loyalty points. This is before we get started on the outsourcing of the ‘pay by instalments’ option to a third party with a seemingly harsh acceptance policy for those fans who previously had no issue getting a ticket plus a high admin fee and high APR. All in all, a poorly thought out ‘policy’ which will result in more backlash against the club’s board.