Reality met the baseball calendar Wednesday, as the Red Sox announced that they are offering ticket-holders the option of full refunds, credits, or exchanges for the 29 games that were scheduled to be played at Fenway Park in April and May.
Technically, the games are still only postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus not eligible for refunds — only canceled games are — but few people, if any, believe they will be played.
Major League Baseball told all 30 teams Tuesday that they could treat the early portion of the six-month regular season as effectively canceled, so the Red Sox have begun the process of allowing the return of potentially tens of millions of dollars they have been holding in ticket sales.
There is an important qualification, though: Tickets bought on the resale market are not part of the Red Sox’ offer; only those purchased directly from the Red Sox are.
Local reseller Ace Ticket has already begun offering refunds to those who bought tickets through its agency.
Individual ticket-holders can receive a full refund from the Red Sox, a credit to their account for later this season or in 2021, or an exchange of tickets for a future game this season.
Season ticket-holders will have the same refund and credit options, with the perk that choosing an account credit will result in a 10 percent bonus credit that is “incremental to the total dollar amount of their season tickets for these games,” according to the team.
Ticket-holders will receive an e-mail to make their selection. No response will mean an automatic refund.
“As we continue to evaluate possibilities for the 2020 season, it’s important that we provide options to our ticket buyers for games scheduled in April and May,” said Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy in a statement.
“We appreciate how patient our fans have been as we worked through the implications of the pandemic on our schedule. We extend our best wishes for the health and safety of the individuals and families in Red Sox Nation.”
In Boston as well as the other major league markets, there has been mounting dissatisfaction among ticket-holders who want their money back. A class-action lawsuit had been filed in California on behalf of fans.
The Red Sox had already begun issuing refunds to ticket-holders who reached out and relayed economic hardship issues they were experiencing.
Red Sox season ticket-holder Patrick Fenton was offered a refund Tuesday, with the option of the first two months or the entire season.
“I took the partial season refund to get back the money for the April and May games,” said Fenton in an e-mail. “They said in June I could decide if I wanted the rest of the games credited back. I figure if games come back later this summer or fall I’ll see what the world looks like in June and decide a plan at that time.”
Season ticket-holders needing more details are asked to contact their account executive. Other fans can call the Red Sox ticket office at 877-RED-SOX9.
MLB still intends to start its 2020 season this summer, with the possibility of a late June or early July start the latest scenario. An 80- to 100-game schedule would be possible, but there are no certainties about whether games would be played in teams’ home parks, at neutral sites, or before any fans at all.