I’m not much of a planner. Never have been.
It’s not because I ever foresaw a pandemic that would cancel sports as we know it just so I could say I told you so. That’s not my style. I’ve just never been one to plan that far ahead. For example, planning a trip to Europe three years in advance always seemed odd to me. I’d rather say, fuck it, let’s go to Europe and why wait the three years? (That’s assuming, of course, I would ever take off work which is altogether different story.)
Even buying tickets for an event a month or two in advance would be, for me at least, an uncharacteristic step in the committal direction. You guys know me well enough by now to know that’s a rarity far more than the norm.
Last December, back when everything was quasi-normal, or so we thought, I took one small step in the opposite-of me direction. I purchased four tickets to two different Orlando Magic games. Two to see LeBron James and the Lakers play on Dec. 11, which you read about here, and two others to see Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans play on Mar. 29, which you kind of sort of read about here. You were going to read about it in greater detail. The problem is… the game never happened. Stupid virus.
When I purchased the Pelicans tickets back in December, it was still unsure whether the rookie phenom would suit up. As you call, he missed the first three months of the NBA season. There was talk about him not playing at all. Plopping down that much money on tickets sans Zion in the lineup was a definite gamble. If only that was all we had to worry about back then.
Spoiler alert: Zion got healthy, the planet did not. It wasn’t long afterwards, for reasons coronaviral, that the NBA decided to cancel the rest of its regular season. Other leagues followed suit. That left ticket holders with a major concern.
How would they be reimbursed for money they had spent on tickets? How forthcoming would franchises be in giving fans their money back? With the uncertainty of these games ever being played, how long would it be before anyone could expect a refund?
While I had spent a fair amount to see Zion play Orlando, the dollars I dropped were nowhere near what season ticket holders had spent for sporting events around the nation.
Professional sports franchises issued generalized statements assuring ticket holders they would be reimbursed for games not played. While doing my best to be patient in an uncertain economy, I tried contacting the Orlando Magic box office with regards to these matters. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.
No answer. Not even the opportunity to leave a voice mail.
Those who were owed a refund would have to wait and see what would come of these games, for the leagues and teams did not know themselves. If you recall, at first, leagues weren’t sure how long games would be down. Exchanges were offered but with no games guaranteed, your guess was as good as theirs.
So, I continued to wait, like the rest of the ticket holders with no games to see and two, otherwise useless pieces of cardboard in my hand, the hope of a promissory note. Further attempts to reach the box office met with a patented recording. It was hard to tell who specifically owed me my money. While I had purchased these tickets at the Amway Center box office, I wasn’t sure who ran that office. The Magic, Ticketmaster, some third party?
And so, I waited some more as the league decided what it would do with these games and if fans could attend them when rescheduled. Once the NBA announced its regular season was over and that fans would not be allowed to attend whatever post-season was mustered, teams, or at least the Orlando Magic were forced to honor a refund. I’ll admit, they did so in resounding fashion.
After sending an e-mail directly to the box office, I received an answer telling me how to get my money back.
I did just that. While I wasn’t able to take my date to see Zion, we instead had a romantic lakeside lunch and created a little Magic of our own.
In these trying times, I’d like to commend the Orlando Magic and the NBA for handling my refund properly. Trust me. I would rather have seen the game in person as much as I’m sure they wanted to host it. But that’s okay. There’s always next year.
For those of you who have purchased tickets and still not received your money back, all I can suggest is that you be persistent and kind. Keep in mind the people who work in these box offices are having a difficult time like the rest of us.
See? Never let it be said that this website can’t be helpful. Just don’t forget to plan ahead.