Toronto Maple Leafs: How fair are refund options for season-ticket holders?

A Toronto Maple Leafs scarf. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
A Toronto Maple Leafs scarf. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

As per a report from The Canadian Press, we look at how reasonable the refund options were to season-ticket holders for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It has been known for quite some time that no more games would be played in front of fans for whatever remained of the 2019-20 campaign. However, it didn’t become official until the Toronto Maple Leafs and other NHL teams started offering refund options to their season-ticket holders.

For the Leafs specifically, season-ticket holders had until Victoria Day on May 18 to request a refund. As reported by Donna Spencer of The Canadian Press via CBC, if they missed this deadline a credit was automatically applied to their accounts.

(From our perspective, the May 18 deadline was unfair to request a refund by. Whether a person for some reason didn’t read this information, or just wanted more time to decide, the Leafs should have offered a later deadline.)

Whether fans requested a refund or accepted the credit, it amounted to the total of the seven regular season games left on the Leafs’ 2019-20 schedule. This included the final game of the regular season against their biggest rivals, the Montreal Canadiens.

As noted by Spencer, one option for the credit is to use it towards season tickets for the 2020-21 campaign. This seemed like a reasonable offer from the Leafs, as much as some fans would argue this was the least the front office could do.

In this respect, the front office made a further concession when it came to renewing season tickets for next season. The first installment for 2020-21 season tickets was originally due by April 8, just four days after the conclusion of the current regular season.

As per Spencer however, the Leafs decided to delay payment until June 8 with everything that is happening in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay was originally pushed back until May 8 and it would come as no surprise if a further one was announced, when considering how many people have suffered financially.

Some would say the Leafs made an extremely smart business decision in delaying the demand for the first installment of the 2020-21 season tickets. However, as Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun previously wrote, this decision only came after heated exchanges between numerous season ticket holders and account executives.

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With some season-ticket holders threatening to cancel their subscriptions, the front office had to make some sort of concession. Again though it was the least they could do, especially when you consider the Leafs consistently have the most expensive average ticket price in the NHL.

Even those fans who can normally afford to pay for Leafs tickets are suffering in the current economic climate. As such the front office has to perform a delicate balancing act, with the possibility that a lot of people just won’t prioritize sports as importantly as before when they have less money to spend.

It will be interesting to see what the long-term ramifications are for the Leafs, and of course professional sports teams in general. For example, will they be able to justify continuing to increase ticket prices, especially if people have lingering financial issues?

In this respect, as per Simmons, the Leafs have increased ticket prices by an average of nine percent for next season. The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is tough to predict, but you can imagine a scenario where a similar increase does not take place for the 2021-22 campaign – even when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Next. 5 free agent defencemen targets for the Leafs. dark

All seven Canadian NHL teams have now contacted their season-ticket holders with options. In some instances, this included deadlines to make a decision. Click here to read Spencer’s breakdown of what options the other six Canadian teams offered.