As the seemingly inevitable lockout looms over the NBA this summer, the very real possibility that the league could cancel games may be on the minds of its many season-ticket holders. Individual and business customers alike may be thinking about holding onto that money, while waiting to see if in fact there will be a 2011-12 season.
The owners are likely to be in a better long-term financial situation than the players in terms of being able to hold out for the best deal, but even so, those season-ticket dollars are extremely important to each team’s financial well-being. So it’s probably not surprising that the league would try to ensure that the money comes in as expected, whether there ends up being a work stoppage or not.
According to a report from Bloomberg’s Mason Levinson (via Michele Steele), the NBA’s plan is to entice its customers to spend that money with a promise of full refunds — plus interest — for any games that may end up being lost.
National Basketball Association season-ticket holders will receive refunds plus interest if games are canceled because of a labor dispute next season, in contrast to the National Football League, which has said it’s up to clubs to decide how to handle deposits.
While both leagues have told fans that they’ll get their money back for tickets to lost games, the NBA will also pay interest on what could amount to loans to franchises from fans, Mike Bass, a spokesman for the NBA, said in a telephone interview.
The report also mentions the fact that the league has done this before, when the owners last locked out the players and lost 32 games from the 1998-99 season.
Now of course, no one’s going to get rich by investing in tickets like this, as the interest rate — which will be set by the league before games are canceled, along with the date that the interest would begin to accrue — is likely to be minimal. But it’s a savvy move by the league nonetheless, and one that should provide some peace of mind for customers who may have otherwise been on the fence about writing that big check while the possibility of a work stoppage remains.