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Rangers season ticket holders getting credits, but no refunds

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The Rangers are apparently offering only credits, and not refunds, to season ticket holders

ALDS Game 2: Toronto at Texas Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Texas Rangers season ticket holders will not be getting refunds for 2020 MLB games that have been canceled, according to communications that season tickets holders have received from their sales representatives. Instead, season ticket holders are apparently being told that they can only get credit for money they’ve paid for games for the 2020 season that have been (or will be) canceled, which can be applied towards other 2020 games or a 2021 renewal.

The Rangers’ policy towards season ticket holders appears to be one of the least generous, if not the least generous, of any major league team. USA Today had a rundown on Sunday of the refund policies of 29 of the MLB teams, and from reviewing that article, one can see that most teams are offering season ticket holders a choice between refunds for unplayed games or a credit towards future games, with an extra percentage sweetener added for those who choose to take the credit.

For example, per the USA Today article above, the Boston Red Sox are offering refunds for games scheduled through May 28 for season ticket holders, as well as a 10% bonus should they opt to take a credit instead. That means that someone who has $1000 spent on season tickets for 2020 on games that have been canceled can either get the $1000 refunded, or get an $1100 credit towards 2020 or 2021 games.

Here’s what the USA Today article says about the Rangers:

Texas Rangers: Single-game tickets through April are available for refund by emailing ticketupdate@rangers.com; season-ticket holders will be contacted by ticket representatives, and would receive a concession and merchandise bonus if they retain their tickets.

After hearing that there were potential issues with how the Rangers were dealing with season ticket holders, we talked to around a dozen folks who have season tickets for the 2020 season about what they’ve heard from their ticket representatives. A few hadn’t heard anything, or hadn’t gotten a response when they inquired. Several others said they were put off or given the runaround, with the reps not providing anything concrete or indicating things were still in “wait and see” mode.

But those season ticket holders who have gotten something definitive from their representatives are being told refunds are not an option — money spent on season tickets for games that are canceled will be credited towards 2020 games or the 2021 season ticket package. And there’s no bonus amount applied towards the credit, either — instead, they will receive Captain Cash in an amount equal to 5% of whatever the credit is.

So if you spent $1000 on season tickets with the Rangers for 2020 games that are canceled, you can’t get your money back, and your only option is to accept a credit for other 2020 games (if any are played with fans in the stadium, and if you want more 2020 tickets when you already have a season ticket package) or your 2021 season ticket renewal, and get $50 in vouchers to use at concession stands.

One season ticket holder share an email he received from his rep in the last several days, in response to his inquiry:

The policy that the Rangers have put in place is as follows. For games that are not rescheduled from the 81-game season, you will automatically receive an account credit equal to the value of the tickets for those games. Nothing except the two exhibition games have been officially cancelled at this time. We hope that once the season starts, that many of these games will be added to the end of the season. This credit can be used for any 2020 regular season or post season games as well as for your 2021 ticket package renewal. Additionally, if you decide to keep all your monies from any game that eventually gets cancelled on your account, you will receive 5% of the value of your package in Captain Cash, which may be redeemed for food, beverage and merchandise. We appreciate your patience with us as we work through this situation and as we await the MLB decision on the 2020 season.

(emphasis added)

Another season ticket holder shared this response from their rep:

I hope you and your families are staying safe through these turbulent times! It is a shame we are having to deal with this now for the grand opening of our new ballpark.

I completely understand your request, however, since we are unsure what this season is going to look like, we are not offering any refunds at this time. Once the MLB gives us an official word on how to proceed for the 2020 season, then we will have a better understanding of what we can do for you guys.

I appreciate your patience as we try to figure this situation out as quick as we can!

A couple of thoughts here...first of all, the bolded and italicized part above, stating that nothing besides the two exhibition games have been canceled, is disingenuous. Its early May, games won’t be starting until July at the earliest, and even then, they will likely be played with no fans or with limitations on the number of fans in the stands.

Secondly, and on a more positive note, the phrase “at this time” gives some reason to think that this policy is subject to change. The fact that the first email states that “if you decide to keep all your monies from any game that eventually gets cancelled on your account” you will get the 5% Captain Cash would seem to imply that there may be a choice in the matter down the road and refunds may be available at some point for season ticket holders.

From talking to the ticketholders, some expressed unhappiness with the policy, since the Rangers are basically sitting on money they spent on tickets for games that have been canceled — some of which was actually paid in May, 2019, as part of getting seats locked in for the new stadium — and offering them no option to get it back. Some expressed dismay about the lack of communication they’ve gotten from the team and their reps about the situation.

And some had no problem with the policy — they’re going to have to pay for their season ticket packages in 2021 anyway, so its no skin off their back if the Rangers just apply it towards next year’s bill. The reaction from some folks was, okay, fine by me.

It is also my understanding that many season ticket holders had to commit to multi-year packages in order to guarantee their seats at the newly built Globe Life Field. My guess is that the organization figures that the season ticket holders will be paying that money to the Rangers eventually, so there’s no reason to issue refunds to people who will just have to turn around and give that money back to the team for the 2021 season.

And yes, the team has a new stadium that was just built, that the team did put some (not all, but some) of the money into building, and I’m sure that’s a factor.

But still...this is a time of crisis. Individuals are anxious about their future, and I have no doubt that many season ticket holders are folks who are being impacted dramatically by the national Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. I suspect there are people who are requesting refunds who are doing so because they need liquidity right now.

I don’t know what the “right” thing for teams to do is right now, in regards to how they treat their fans. But I do know, based on the information that is out there, that just about every other major league team has implemented refund and credit policies for their season ticket holders that is more fan-friendly than the policy the Rangers have in place.

Hopefully, as I noted above, this policy is going to be revised, and season ticket holders are provided more options so that those who want a refund can get one, and that those who opt for a credit get more generous terms than coupons for concession stands. Its still early on, and the Rangers have a chance to make things better here.