Earlier today we brought you word that the Miami Heat organization has been filing lawsuits against individuals and companies who owe the team money for their season tickets. Most of the suits seem to address last season, when the Heat were a dreadful 15-67 and regularly trotting out a lineup of D-Leaguers. One lady is defending herself by saying that the team failed to provide the product it promised.
So why shouldn’t people be able to back out of tickets if the product isn’t what was expected, as was the case with the Heat last year? If teams aren’t making the effort win games (which can be argued most every March in regard to several NBA teams, and every day in regard to the Detroit Lions), then why should fans be expected to pay for it?
I’m not necessarily saying that people should be able to turn in their tickets for a full refund at any time. There is something to the notion of a contract and season-ticket holders do get discounts from the single-game face value of seats:
But I think some franchises might be able to actually increase season-ticket sales if they provided a couple of ways to get out. How about either of these two ideas:
1) If, at mid-season, you aren’t happy with what you’re seeing on the court, you can turn in the rest of your tickets of the year for a refund. But there’s only a limited window for accepting or rejecting this offer. The team still gets at least a half-season of your money, but you still get the option of not having to sit through dreadful late-season games if your team is hopeless.
2) You can turn your tickets in at any time and get a partial refund, say 75% of the remaining value of your tickets. But you have to turn all of them in. You take a financial hit, but not anywhere near what it would cost to keep your seats.
Something along these lines would give fans some flexibility, and doesn’t seem as daunting of having to pay for an entire season regardless of the team’s success. It would also be a positive PR story for a team, and would also demonstrate to fans that the franchise is willing to be accountable for its product.
So what do you think? Should teams be held more accountable for their on-field performance, and if so, how?