First comes the toilet paper, food and other essentials. Eventually, though, those of us who had tickets to concerts and other events now sidelined by the coronavirus will have to figure out if, when and how to get our money back.
Here are general guidelines and a few tips on how to handle tickets for sidelined performances.
One suggestion you may find surprising: Now actually could be a good time to buy tickets to an upcoming event even if there’s a chance of it being postponed.
Canceled events: Most events that are outright canceled without any plans to reschedule will automatically be refunded to the credit card used to purchase your tickets. This includes “platinum” tickets and other seats with inflated prices bought through Ticketmaster; all refunds are given at the price you paid. Those refunds do include the various fees, too, except for postage if the tickets were mailed.
Ticketmaster, AXS, eTix and other ticket platforms e-mail ticket buyers with specific details on a show-by-show basis. For tickets bought in person with cash or debit card, refunds must be sought at the point of purchase (but there’s no rush to do so; maybe wait a few weeks).
Postponed events: For shows that are rescheduled or have plans for rescheduling, ticket holders usually don’t have to do anything if they still plan to attend on the later date. Your tickets to the original event will be good for the makeup show.
If ticket holders wish to ask for a refund for a rescheduled show, they almost always can. Ticketmaster and other websites have a “Request a Refund” link on their website (often under the “Your Account” dashboard). However, you will have to — and may not be able to! — repurchase tickets to the makeup dates.
For instance, tickets to Rage Against the Machine’s quickly sold-out May 11-12 gigs at Target Center will likely be just as hard to come by when the band reschedules them, as it pledged it will.
Shows still in limbo: For updates on concerts not yet postponed or canceled but questionable, news usually comes first from the artists themselves and/or the venues via their social-media sites. Some venues and artists are offering refunds to fans who want out in the meantime, but mostly these tickets are still valid and not voidable.
Tickets bought through resale sites: For events that are canceled, StubHub, VividSeats and similar sites are giving out refunds just like Ticketmaster. StubHub and several more of these sites are also currently offering fans 120% credit toward future purchases instead of refunds for canceled shows. This is actually a good deal if you regularly turn to these sites for tickets. For instance, if you bought $250 in tickets, you’ll get an extra $50 toward the next big show.
For events that are postponed, tickets bought through resale sites such as StubHub will still be good on the makeup date, just like Ticketmaster. Ticket holders should expect an e-mail from the site with new information.
However, these sites usually do not offer refunds if the buyer cannot make the rescheduled date, so ticket holders are then told to resell their seats (benefiting the resale site twice over with its selling fees).
Sports tickets: For now, teams such as the Timberwolves, Wild and Twins are listing their games as postponed, not canceled, so no refunds are being automatically given yet. The exception are the Twins’ spring training games, which won’t be rescheduled and thus are being refunded. Fans certainly won’t be shortchanged and can still seek refunds or team credit if and when games are officially canceled or rescheduled.
Theater productions: Ticket refunds for Guthrie, Ordway and other theatrical productions are generally operating the same as concerts. Refunds will be available for performances that are already canceled, such as the Guthrie’s “Twelfth Nights” dates this month. Postponed shows that are trying to reschedule, such as the Ordway’s “The Color Purple,” will provide seats to ticket holders for the makeup dates.
Patrons can also get credit for upcoming performances in lieu of refunds — which is especially ideal for the nonprofit theater companies being hit hard by the quarantine.
Buying for future events: The shows must go on, and eventually they will. Concert tickets are still being sold to gigs as early as the beginning of next month, and new concerts are being announced for the summer and fall. If these dates are postponed or canceled, the same rules will apply for refunds as listed above.
There are advantages to buying tickets now. For one, some ill-informed or panicky fans are trying to unload seats via resale sites such as StubHub, so seats for questionable big gigs like the Rolling Stones’ May 16 date at U.S. Bank Stadium can actually be had for face value or less (and the Stones are likely to reschedule if need be, as they did last year after Mick Jagger underwent heart surgery).
Left’s face it: Hardly anybody is buying concert tickets right now. That means good seats should be plentiful to most upcoming shows.
That also means that many smaller, independent venues and the artists they host are taking big financial hits at the moment. They could benefit from fans pre-purchasing tickets during this downtime. Or consider buying gift cards or merchandise such as T-shirts from these venues’ and artists’ websites as another means to support them.