The Seahawks on Thursday became the latest NFL team to offer season-ticket holders full refunds for the 2020 season — or the ability to simply pause for the year and credit their account for 2021 — in the wake of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Seahawks made the announcement in an e-mail sent to season-ticket holders Thursday morning.
According to the Sports Business Journal, at least 13 other NFL teams have enacted a similar policy in recent days as the league confronts the reality that the preseason may be cancelled, and that seating will be limited if regular season games are played.
Fans who request a pause on their tickets for the 2020 season would “retain the ability to purchase (the) same seating location in 2021,” the team said in its e-mail. Their seats would be released for only the 2020 season, the Seahawks said, with the current season-ticket holder then having the ability to take them back in 2021.
Season-ticket holders can also take what the team is calling a “wait and see” approach to the 2020 season.
That means fans can keep their credit on account for the 2020 season as the team confirms details and “government mandates” for the season, with no changes being made to their season ticket membership for now.
Fans who take the “wait and see” option would have priority for ticket options if stadium capacity changes to impact their seat locations, or if games are changed/cancelled. Any unused credits from 2020 would roll over to the 2021 season or be refunded, at the request of the season-ticket holder.
Fans who request refunds will have their refunds applied to their most-recently used credit cards, with the team saying it will take 4-6 weeks for the refund to be processed.
NFL teams have already been told that the first eight rows at every stadium will be unavailable for seating this year “to allow for proper on-field distancing” of players, coaches and staffers. That will cut into every team’s seating capacity.
At least one team, the Baltimore Ravens, has already announced it will reduce its seating capacity to under 14,000 for the 2020 season in an attempt to adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
The Seahawks have had official sellouts for every game played at CenturyLink Field since the 2003 season, a streak of 146 straight.
The Seahawks last year sold 61,000 season tickets, with a renewal rate of 97 percent, which the team said was the seventh consecutive season it had a renewal rate of 97 percent or better.
The record attendance for a football game at CenturyLink Field is 69,190 against the Eagles in 2016.
NFL training camps are scheduled to open July 28, with the league continuing to devise protocols for adhering to social distancing guidelines while still practicing and preparing for the season.
The league has yet to officially announce what will happen with the preseason schedule. The league has been hoping to have each team play at least two preseason games (one home game for each team) while the Players Association has said it does not want to play any.
The Seahawks first game is scheduled for Sept. 13 at Atlanta with the first home game on Sept. 20 against the New England Patriots.