SBD/Issue 56/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Tries To Appease Season-Ticket Holders With New Lockout Policy

NFL Hopes News Of Full Refunds In Case Of
Work Stoppage Helps Season-Ticket Renewals

NFL Exec VP/Business Operations Eric Grubman yesterday said that the league "hopes season ticket holders will be 'more comfortable' about renewing" for the '11 season after the NFL announced plans to offer refunds in the event of a work stoppage, according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell yesterday formally announced that the league "plans to offer full ticket refunds for all preseason and regular-season games canceled" as the result of a possible work stoppage next season. Grubman said, "If we're not going to have a full season of games, they deserve the opportunity to get their money back." McCarthy notes the refund policy "could affect 1.3 million fans." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that clubs "might have to refund" $7-8M for each canceled game (USA TODAY, 12/1). USA TODAY's McCarthy notes every ticket "with the exception of pricier club seats and luxury suites" is covered under the NFL's policy. That means "all who buy season tickets, partial season tickets and individual game tickets are eligible for a refund if their game is canceled." Grubman: "It does not apply to club seats and suites." Teams can decide whether to extend the policy to club-seat and luxury-suite ticketholders, so those customers "should check what protection they have in their contracts." Refunds for PSLs also will be determined on a team-by-team basis (USA TODAY, 12/1).

WRITING ON THE WALL? PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote the NFL's lockout ticket policy is the "clearest sign yet from the league that a work stoppage could happen." While it "may simply be part of the bluff that the league is trying to pull on the union, prior steps had entailed a less obvious connection to the possible loss of games." The notion that "refunds will be paid is a no-brainer." But "far more surprising is the fact that the league won’t compel teams to refund payments" for club suites, suites and PSLs. Florio: "Surely, a class-action lawsuit will be filed against any team that doesn’t compensate folks who have forked over big money for these high-end menu options" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 11/30).

NOT MEETING THAT OFTEN: ESPN’s Chris Mortensen noted the NFL and the NFLPA are not meeting very often right now. Mortensen: “There is a difference between discussions and meetings. The meeting more than a week ago was a real meeting. They had a lot of people in there. They had members of the competition committee in there: Bill Polian of the Colts and Rich McKay of the Atlanta Falcons. They had active players in that meeting just to discuss the dynamics of, 'How are you going to play an 18-game regular season and then have a reduced offseason?' They addressed the health, the safety and the post-career medical stuff. That was a meeting that focused solely on 18 games” ("Mike & Mike in the Morning," ESPN Radio, 12/1).

YOU KNOW SOMETHING WE DON'T? NFL Network's Deion Sanders appeared on Versus' "The T.Ocho Show" last night, where he said "ain't nobody gonna lockout" in regards to a potential work stoppage next season in the NFL. Sanders: "You think 32 billionaires are going to miss a little money in this economic turbulent times? There's not going to be a lockout. They're going to get together. They're going to make up and they're going to kiss and they're going to be happy and they're going to become friends once again. No one's missing no money in these turbulent times" ("The T.Ocho Show," Versus, 11/30).

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