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The city’s two main professional sports teams have either made significant changes to ticket sales or appear open to altering their plans due to the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Winnipeg Jets season-ticket holders already have skin in the game for the suspended 2019-20 campaign, and some have already paid for a playoff run that might never materialize, but the NHL club said Wednesday it won’t ask customers to start shelling out for the 2020-21 regular season.
Some season-ticket holders would have started paying monthly as of mid-April, however, the Jets are changing their payment schedule. The revised timeline hasn’t been finalized.
The information was provided in a ‘frequently asked questions’ segment of an email sent to season-ticket holders Wednesday. "Invoices for the following season are typically issued in mid-March, with payments commencing on April 15. Due to the suspension of the 2019-20 NHL season, we will NOT be sending invoices for the 2020-21 NHL season at this time," the club said.
Season-ticket holders can, if they prefer, begin monthly payments on April 15 but need to contact the Jets for that to happen.
Meanwhile, the defending Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers are currently charging for season-ticket renewals but are sensitive to the fact some fans' circumstances might have changed since the coronavirus threat intensified in Manitoba.
"Our fan service team is available to speak to our season-ticket members to address any concerns they have related to COVID-19," team president and CEO Wade Miller said in a statement.
"Many fans have reached out to pledge their ongoing support for the Bombers and we want them to know that we deeply appreciate that, we are thinking of them and their families, and we also know they, too, are dealing with enormous uncertainty that we are all facing right now."
The CFL is looking at contingency plans in case of a postponement of the 2020 season. Rookie camps are scheduled to open May 13, training camps start four days later, the pre-season schedule begins May 24 and the regular season kicks off June 11.
One fan who contacted the Free Press said he was surprised to see a significant charge on his credit card, considering he agreed to renew his tickets eight weeks ago. The Winnipegger, who didn't want to named, said he's fortunate to be working during the crisis and can afford his tickets, but noted others might be challenged to pay.
He's hopeful the Bombers will, indeed, work with season-ticket holders who have pledged support to the team but might be struggling right now.
"Our agreements were made in January and now payments are coming out with no notification, no email, nothing on (the Bombers) website. "Given the unique circumstances of what people are facing, no one can assume it's the status quo," he said.
The Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball team indicated Wednesday it is also willing to work with season-ticket holders who have yet to officially renew.
"Some have paid in full already, and we are being very flexible with those that have not," a Goldeyes spokesperson said Wednesday.
Assistant sports editor
Jason Bell wanted to be a lawyer when he was a kid. The movie The Paper Chase got him hooked on the idea of law school and, possibly, falling in love with someone exactly like Lindsay Wagner (before she went all bionic).
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