The Chicago White Sox is being sued by a disability advocacy group over what it claims are discriminatory ticket sales practices.
The suit, brought by Access Living, alleges that the Major League Baseball (MLB) team is in breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because of the limited availability of both season and single game tickets on its website.
According to the suit, filed on behalf of two plaintiffs in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the absence of tickets on the website forces people with disabilities who want season tickets to call to make a purchase. This limits the seats they can purchase at Guaranteed Rate Field to the few offered over the phone instead of allowing them to choose from all unsold accessible seats like standard season ticket purchasers can do on the website.
For single game tickets, only a small percentage of accessible seats are offered, and these are frequently limited to only certain areas of the stadium or certain games during the year. For the majority of this season, the suit alleges that the White Sox website primarily offered accessible seating in the outfield or upper deck. The suit can be viewed here.
Frustrating and disheartening
Access Living and Chicago law firm Much Shelist want the court to declare that the White Sox’s current practices violate the ADA. White Sox should also ensure those wanting wheelchair accessible tickets can obtain them by the same means as regular seats.
“It is incredibly frustrating and disheartening to see people with disabilities have to resort to legal action just so they can enjoy a sport dear to American culture,” said Charles Petrof, senior attorney for Access Living.
One of the plaintiffs, Douglas McCormick, is a longtime season ticket holder who worked on the construction of Guaranteed Rate Field in the 1980s. McCormick, who now needs mobility assistance, tried to change his season ticket seats to accessible seats and was told no.
“Imagine helping in the construction of the home stadium for your team and being told you can’t buy season tickets to go to games there,” said McCormick. “Well, that’s exactly what the White Sox told me after decades of supporting them.”
In response, the White Sox said in a statement: “We are disappointed by this lawsuit as the White Sox always hope to accommodate the needs of all our fans at the ballpark.
“The White Sox comply with all legal requirements and provide significant accessible seating at our games for our guests. We strongly believe that White Sox baseball is for everyone.”