12:02pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Major League Baseball, Live Nation Sued Over Coronavirus Refunds
While baseball fans nationwide are dismayed about missing opening day and wondering whether this season will happen, the league and major ticket sales sites are facing a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit from fans who want their tickets refunded.
"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," writes attorney David Azar in the complaint, which is posted below. "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. Under the pretext of 'postponing' games, at the directive of MLB, Teams and Ticket Merchants are refusing to issue refunds for games which are not going to be played as scheduled — if ever; and, should any games be played this year, it is almost certain that they will be played without spectators."
The lawsuit — which was filed by a New York Mets 2020 season-ticket holder and a woman who bought a pack of six tickets to a Yankees-Red Sox game that had been scheduled for May — targets the league itself; each individual team; StubHub; and Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation. While both lead plaintiffs are New York residents, their attorneys argue that Live Nation is based in California and so are the Angels and Dodgers — plus residents of the state likely are affected. (Todd Boehly is an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and is chairman of Valence Media, which owns THR.)
There are two proposed classes, one for people who bought regular-season tickets directly from the teams and another for people who bought them on the secondary market. Their claims include unfair competition, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment, and they're seeking full restitution and an injunction ordering defendants to notify customers of their rights and preventing them from denying future refunds related to the pandemic.
StubHub tells THR that it doesn't comment on active litigation, and MLB and Live Nation have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, a similar suit was filed Friday against Live Nation and Ticketmaster over the refund policy for concert tickets. That suit claims that on March 14, they retroactively changed the policy from saying refunds were available if the event is "postponed, rescheduled or canceled" to say that they're available only if canceled. The company, also on Friday, announced a revised policy that gives fans 30 days after a show has been rescheduled to request a refund.