Ticketmaster has assured fans that refunds will be offered for postponed events with new dates, while Danish football club FC Midtjylland has invited fans to a ‘drive-in’ experience as games could be played behind closed doors. Here’s a look at some positive news from across the industry related to COVID-19…

Ticketmaster refunds

Ticketmaster has pledged to honour ticket refunds for postponed shows with rescheduled dates days after New York legislators called for a probe into its alleged “abusive” refund practices.

Jared Smith, president of the Live Nation-owned ticketing giant, said in a release that “neither our clients, nor Ticketmaster, intend to withhold refunds on postponed shows.”

Fans will only be able to claim refunds for postponed events once new dates have been set for the event, while cancelled shows will offer automatic refunds. Refunds for a postponed show will also need to be requested within a 30-day window, which mirrors the policy AEG has set for COVID-19-postponed events.

Smith said: “For the 30,000 events that have already been postponed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19, we have already sent more than $2 billion to event organisers, making it impossible to issue refunds to fans before recouping sales receipts from the organisers, as we’ve done in the past.”

Meanwhile, US Representatives Bill Pascrell and Katie Porter have called on Live Nation and Ticketmaster to “stop confiscating fans money and demanding they issue full refunds to ALL customers who request them.”

In a letter to the entertainment giants, the members of congress claim that Ticketmaster is “holding hostage money that could contribute to a rent check, electric bill or groceries for children.”

Pascrell and Porter have asked Ticketmaster to explain in detail when the language in its refund policy was altered, and calls the merger of the two companies “disastrous.”

In a Twitter spat over the weekend, Pascrell was told to “not kick Ticketmaster” but “focus on cleaning up StubHub” by Irving Azoff, the former chairman and chief executive of Ticketmaster, who was also executive chairman of Live Nation.

Ticketmaster notes that as of March 1, there were over 55,000 events on its systems scheduled to take place between March 1 and the end of 2020. It claims most of those events have already been impacted in some way by restrictions on large public gatherings and it “fully anticipates more events will be impacted in the weeks and months ahead.”

More than 12,000 events that use Ticketmaster have already been cancelled and roughly 5,000 events have already been rescheduled,

Smith added: “Of the remaining 14,000 events – which include sports, concerts and Broadway shows – promoters are actively working through rescheduling options, which is an incredibly complex task at present given the diminished line of sight into the future as well as the uncertainty around when large gatherings may resume.

“As those events either land new dates or are cancelled, we will work quickly with the event organisers to authorise refunds on those events as well.”

In addition, Live Nation has launched a scheme called ‘Rock When You’re Ready’, which allows fans to receive 150 per cent credit for their tickets to be used on a future Live Nation event.

They can also donate tickets to health workers, via a scheme called ‘Hero Nation’.

Last week, a New York legislator called for an investigation into the alleged “abusive” ticketing practices taking place amid the COVID-19 shutdown of live events.

An original probe was launched in early March and requested documents and policies from 20 vendors, including the New York Yankees, Live Nation and StubHub, among others.

Senator James Skoufis, who chairs the New York state Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, said the investigation has become more urgent due to the mass cancellations and postponements of events due to COVID-19.

FC Midtjylland ‘drive-in’ football

Danish Superliga football club FC Midtjylland has invited fans to a ‘drive-in’ experience for matches at MCH Arena when the season eventually resumes.

The Danish football season is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak and there are plans to resume the campaign on May 17. With it appearing likely that matches will be played behind closed doors when the season resumes, FC Midtjylland has come up with an innovative way to ensure fans still feel part of the action.

The Herning-based club plans on making 2,000 spaces available in the stadium car park for when the season resumes, with big screens to be set up to showcase the action to fans. It is hoped that the initiative would allow up to 10,000 fans to tune into the match, which they could listen to via their car radio.

A camera will also be set up so the footage of the fans in their cars can be relayed on to the screens inside the stadium. Prizes will also be given to the ‘best-dressed’ car.

Eurovision in Concert

Organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest, which was cancelled last month due to COVID-19, have announced new dates for Eurovision in Concert, one of its pre-parties, which will now take place on April 10, 2021.

Organisers confirmed that tickets bought for this year’s event will remain valid for the 2021 edition, with information on refunds for those who can’t attend to be revealed shortly.

The 2020 edition in Amsterdam was due to take place on the April 4. Other pre-parties such as Pre-Party ES, Israel Calling and the London Eurovision Party are yet to reveal their plans for 2021.