As you may have heard, the NBA is in the middle of a lockout which is threatening the upcoming season. Just like in 1998-99, games could be missed, or the season could even be canceled, if things go hockey on us. It’s a bad time to be a basketball fan. Total Dave, Travis, Frank, buzzkill.
And because of the way season ticket purchases work, lots of people have already bought tickets for next year’s games. You know, the ones that might not happen. Even more of a buzzkill. Thankfully, the NBA realizes that that’s not a good way to keep fans interested, which is why their offering special refund programs if any games are missed.
The Hornets’ doomsday plan, the first to become public, actually sounds pretty chill. From the Times-Picayune:
Hornets season-tickets holders can either allow monies already spent on their season ticket for next season to be held in their accounts where holders can earn an additional 10 percent of the value of any games missed. The accrued interest in the accounts can then be used to purchase additional tickets, playoff tickets or be used toward renewals.
Fans who choose this avenue, termed the “gold option,” will also have an added 5 percent of the value of any games missed donated to the Hornets’ charity ticket program which provides free tickets to different youth organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs, the United Way and various parks and recreations departments.
Fans choosing the second, or “standard” option, can receive a refund on any missed games, plus a 1 percent annualized interest rate based on the principle on the account. Interest on the accounts will begin to accrue on Oct. 1 and refund and interest payments will be paid on a monthly basis.
Oh, nice strat on that one. Either season ticket holders can get their money back, plus a small amount of interest, for their troubles. Or they can keep their money in their ticket accounts, and have that money used for more tickets. Not only does that sound better for the Hornets, they also add in the charity component, so that if you pick the standard option, you feel like a greedy jerk for neglecting youth organizations because you want your money back. Smart.
But hey, even if the Hornets are trying to goad their season ticket holders in to not cashing out, at least they are doing something for the people who have already spent a significant chunk of change on events that aren’t going to be happening. I’m not sure if that’s something they have to do, but it is definitely something they have to do if they don’t want loyal fans to turn on the sport, as similar programs are available throughout the league. If the NBA were to just say, “Sorry bros, you already paid,” and keep the monies, that wouldn’t go over too well.
Of course, there is one very simple way to avoid having to pay out refunds or lose fans, which is to end the lockout. Or, alternately, to have never started it in the first place. So, two ways to solve this thing, really. Kinda missed out on one, so let’s try to nail the other, OK? OK.