I Want Mom’s Season Tickets!

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Fall is my favorite season. I grew up in California, where only two trees in my neighborhood changed colors. So when I went to college in northern Indiana, I really fell in love with the season.

However, fall also means football to me. I grew up watching my San Francisco 49ers win five Super Bowls. I went to all of my brother’s high school football games and sat in the stands with my sports fanatic godmother, who taught me the rules simply: “They get four chances to go ten yards.” There was no football at my all-girls, Catholic high school. However, I often went to games at two or three of the boys’ high schools every weekend. During college and law school, I watched my Notre Dame Fighting Irish play in a stadium which went from a capacity of 59,000 when I was a freshman, to 81,000 when I was in law school. Recently, I went to my first NFL game to get a sneak peak at Peyton Manning playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos. My husband asked—

What happens to season tickets when you die?

Each ball club has its own agreement with customers/fans. Some are more flexible than others, often depending on the team’s current success. For example, when I first moved to Colorado and the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup (2001), tickets for the 18,000 seats in the Pepsi Center were hard to come by. Currently if you call the Colorado Avalanche season ticket office, they will ask you: “Where do you like to sit?” Season tickets are available in nearly all sections and there is no wait. You can transfer season tickets to family, friends, or other third parties when you die. The Denver Nuggets have the same policy. The Colorado Rockies currently have no wait for season tickets. Although their written transfer policy is strict (by “written request of the primary holder to an already designated co-holder or an immediate family member”1 ), the Rockies will currently work with families and be flexible with transfer of season tickets at death.

The Denver Broncos have a long-standing, loyal fan base and their season ticket rules are much tighter. Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium seats 76,000 and there is a 7-10 year wait-list (with 32,000 names) for season tickets. United Club level season tickets are available, but they are generally more expensive and often purchased by businesses for client entertainment. Following is the official account transfer policy:

Transfers are limited to an “immediate Family Member”
if a personal account, or an “Affiliate” if a company or corporate
account.2

Transfers must be accomplished during a scheduled time-period (September 15 – December 31) via The Denver Broncos Season Ticket Assignment Form.

There are many simple solutions for transferring season tickets. If you have a large family and anticipate conflict, consider transferring the account during your lifetime. Another idea is to fill out a Ticket Assignment form now and store it with your original will. You can also specify which immediate family member you’d like to get the tickets in your will. If you do nothing, your personal representative can select an immediate family member and transfer the account. If your business owns season tickets and you have business partners, consider addressing transfer in your buy-sell agreement.

Family members and business partners unfortunately fight about season tickets, just as they do over other sentimental assets. Brothers sued one another over the division of sales profits from their late father’s Green Bay Packers tickets.3 Former law partners also sued one another over ownership of the firm’s Packers tickets.4

Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to work with the season ticket office. Since season tickets are typically not considered property, ball clubs can revoke tickets at their discretion. An Illinois court supported the Chicago Cubs’ termination of season tickets following rumors that the holder was reselling tickets at inflated prices.5 A Massachusetts court upheld the New England Patriots’ termination of 20-year corporate season tickets after a patron was ejected from the stadium for throwing beer bottles.6 The Denver Broncos make clear to season ticket holders that “the opportunity to purchase a season ticket accounts from year-to-year. . . is a privilege. . . which may be revoked by the Broncos at any time.”7

Season tickets shouldn’t be the reason you call an estate planning lawyer. But if you want to provide for your loved ones after you die, you should create an estate plan. Call our Denver estate planning attorneys at (303) 991-4676 today to discuss the best solution for your circumstances.

1. https://mlb.mlb.com/col/sth/hotline.jsp.

2. Denver Broncos Season Ticket Benefits and Policies, https://www.denverbroncos.com/tickets-and-stadium/ticket-info/ticket-benefits-and-policies.html.

3. Brothers Settle Packers Ticket Dispute, https://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/local/green_bay/green-bay-packers-season-ticket-dispute-settled-out-of-court-by-christman-brothers.

4. Aaron v. Axel, No. 00-0615 (Wis. Ct. App. Dec. 5, 2000).

5. Soderholm v. Chicago National League Ball Club, 587 N.E.2d 517 (Ill. App. Ct. 1992).

6. Yarde Metals, Inc. v. New England Patriots Limited Partnership, 834 N.E.2d (Mass. App. Ct. 2005).

7. Denver Broncos Season Ticket Benefits and Policies, https://www.denverbroncos.com/tickets-and-stadium/ticket-info/ticket-benefits-and-policies.html

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