NFL Tickets Are on Sale, But Fans May Not Be Ready to Buy Them

(Bloomberg) -- The National Football League officially released its 2020 schedule -- a best-case look at how the season may go if the country’s most popular sport can play games amid the Covid-19 pandemic

The schedule, delayed a month, usually jump-starts billions of dollars in sales of tickets and TV ads. But this year isn’t typical. Baseball, basketball and hockey are on hold because of coronavirus, and the MLB especially has drawn criticism for its refund policies.

NFL Tickets Are on Sale, But Fans May Not Be Ready to Buy Them

Brokers surveyed by the Action Network Inc. said they saw about 15% of the NFL volume they usually experience in the hours after the NFL schedule is released. Josh Stine, chief executive officer of ticket agency Seat Insiders Inc., tweeted Thursday night that “not a single request has come in so far to our team when normally we would have sold significant volume tonight.”

SeatGeek, on the other hand, said secondary sales in the 12 hours after the schedule was released more than doubled from last year. It’s an authorized NFL partner.

The NFL’s official position is that the 17-week season is expected to start on time, though the plans have already been disrupted with facilities closed and team activities halted. This week, Commissioner Roger Goodell laid out a multiphase plan for reopening facilities, saying clubs should be ready to go by the end of next week. The memo, obtained by Bloomberg News, included eight pages of safety guidelines.

This week, the NFL also adopted a ticket-refund plan for all 32 teams. Anyone who buys a ticket directly through an NFL team will have the option for a full refund or credit toward future tickets. Beyond that, teams can get creative -- and many will likely offer fans extra incentives to choose credit over a refund.

Single Games

A handful of teams, including the New York Jets, have decided not to sell single-game tickets yet. The team said in a statement it was the “prudent thing to do” for fans.

While some of those rules sound like they handicap resellers, that marketplace is in full swing with its own refund policies.

SeatGeek, for example, has said along with Ticketmaster that it would refund any transaction for NFL games that are canceled or take place without fans in the seats. It’s an official distribution partner of the NFL, and is the primary ticket vendor for the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals.

The Las Vegas Raiders, which are moving to a new town and new stadium, were the most-popular and most-expensive team on SeatGeek, with average resale prices of $588. The Los Angeles Rams, who also have a new stadium, were the second-most popular. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which added Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski during the off season, had the third-highest volume and the fourth-highest price ($353).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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