Washington Nationals unveils 50 per cent loyalty bonus, while Arkansas governor has slammed plans for first socially distanced concert in the country…

MLB

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Washington Nationals has announced one of the most substantial ticket refund policies in the sports industry.

The league, which shut down in mid-March, allowed the clubs to decide their own ticketing refund policies for missed games due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Nationals rolled out a policy that will offer a 50 per cent loyalty bonus on all 2020 tickets if that money is kept with the team. This offer far exceeds the rest of MLB clubs, whose bonus rollover credits for fans not opting to take cash refunds range between 0 and 30 per cent.

Fans can choose to use the bonus credit in either 2020 or 2021 on additional game tickets, seat upgrades, concessions, merchandise, or charitable donations.

MLB announced earlier this week that it could begin its 2020 season around the Fourth of July weekend, according to the Associated Press news agency. Games would take place without fans and the proposal could see spring training begin in early to mid-June and the regular season in the first week of July.

The league has plans for teams to play 82 regular-season games each when the sport eventually resumes.

US live concerts

Arkansas’ Governor has condemned US promoter TempleLive for scheduling the nation’s first socially distanced concert amid COVID-19 before the state’s directive that businesses can reopen on May 18.

The Arkansas Department of Health is issuing a cease and desist order to the TempleLive venue in Fort Smith, which is scheduled to host blues rock singer Travis McCready on Friday, three days before concerts — at a 50-person maximum capacity — are officially allowed to resume.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told reporters: “That has not been approved. We’ve looked at their plan and their plan was insufficient as well. So that concert does not have our approval.”

The planned safety provisions include the use of ‘fan pods,’ sanitising the theatre with disinfectant fog ahead of doors opening and taking fans’ temperatures at the entrance.

TempleLive said the concert still plans to go ahead, stating: “The COVID-19 precautions and practices established by TempleLive have accumulated interest from other entertainment establishments and are being adopted and implemented worldwide.

“We believe that the ‘Fan-Pod’ seating model along with other innovative safety protocols that have been adopted by TempleLive create a safe and comfortable environment, and are the next logical steps in bringing live entertainment back to the stage.”

Ukraine

The Ukrainian creative industries, including ticketing firms such as Concert.ua, have urged the country’s government to support the sector in coming out of quarantine by shining beams of light into the sky in 25 cities.

As part of the #stopculturalquarantine initiative, more than 5,400 lighting devices were used to make the protest and was supported by more than 100 companies. These organisations include festivals Atlas Weekend and UPark, and venues such as the 35,000-capacity Lviv Arena.

Yevgenia Strizhevskaya, the founder of industry conference Kyiv Music Days, said, according to IQ: “We represent the modern culture of Ukraine and we are convinced that this peaceful action will go down in history.

“We ask the government to open a dialogue with us in order to develop unified rules for overcoming this crisis.”

Yesterday, the government of Ukraine extended certain quarantine measures until May 22 to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but eased some restrictions. People are now able to visit museums and begin rehearsals for theatres, circuses, concert organisations, and artistic groups (up to 50 people are permitted and spectators are prohibited).

Image: Rudi Riet