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New England Patriots‘ season-ticket holders who are considered to have a high risk of illness from COVID-19 can give up their seats for 2020 without losing their access in 2021.
Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the Patriots informed their ticket holders via email about the policy of being able to opt out “if because of age or an underlying health condition (they) are in a population the CDC has identified as being at higher risk of illness from COVID-19.”
The email also stated that “by completing this agreement now, your seat location will be protected for the 2021 season.”
Even though the NFL is planning on playing a full season, the league announced last month a policy that would allow fans to receive full ticket refunds in the event games are canceled/postponed or have to be played in venues without fans:
“We have every expectation that there will be a full NFL game schedule in 2020. However, if a game is cancelled and cannot be rescheduled, or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending, ticket buyers who purchase tickets directly from the club (i.e., Season Tickets, Group Sales and/or Partial Season Plans) will receive the option of a full refund of [their] ticket purchase price (plus associated fees) for any impacted games or have the ability to apply the applicable amount to a future ticket purchase.”
The AP noted New England’s policy “appears to be the most generous—or perhaps cautious—yet announced by an NFL team in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to the AP, “many” other teams in the NFL have extended payment deadlines for season tickets “because of the economic fallout of the pandemic.”
It’s unclear at this point if NFL teams will be allowed to have fans in the stands. The NBA, MLS and NHL have announced return-to-play plans that include playing games without fans. The PGA Tour and NASCAR have been running events without patrons allowed.
New England will begin the 2020 regular season at home against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 13.