Q. Now that Major League Baseball has delayed the 2020 season because of the Corona virus, will there be refunds for MLB.TV and Extra Innings on DIRECTV and Dish? — Ike, Amarillo, Texas.
Ike, as you note, Major League Baseball has suspended all play, including spring training and the opening of the 2020 season, due to concerns over the Coronavirus outbreak. League officials have not said when the regular season will begin, but many baseball writers have speculated it won’t be until mid-April at the earliest.
I’ve received several e-mails today from subscribers to the league’s pay package of out-of-market games, MLB.TV (online for $121) and MLB Extra Innings (available for around $183 on pay TV services such as DIRECTV, Dish, Comcast, Verizon and Charter.) They are already demanding refunds for the entire season, or at least, a partial refund for the first two weeks of games.
It’s likely that both the league and the pay TV ops will issue refunds at some point for missed action. (The league and TV companies have not addressed the issue yet, but they have said they won’t issue refunds for game tickets until it’s clear the games will be affected.)
However, the problem with giving a refund now is that we don’t know how many games will be missed.
How would MLB or the pay TV services calculate what the refund should be at this point? If they say they will refund 10 percent for let’s say 16 games (roughly 10 percent of the season) that are not played, they could have to turn around and issue another refund later if the league decides to suspend play further.
Then if the second deadline for the season opener is not met, they would have to do it again. And maybe then again.
It could get quite ridiculous.
Obviously, it makes sense for everyone to wait and see exactly how many games are not played. Then MLB and its pay TV partners can issue one refund that will definitely cover what a subscriber missed.
As for subscribers to the NBA League Pass package of out-of-market games, it’s less likely there will be a refund because the league is now promising to play out the rest of the season when teams return. That could change, of course, but that’s the current plan.
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— Phillip Swann