The Hall of Fame game that was scheduled to be played on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was cancelled due to the bad condition of the field, which left a lot of people who had purchased tickets to the event very upset. While NFL betting predictions were voided because of the cancellation, NFL fans that made the trip to Canton believe the league owes them some money for their trip.
Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star, noted that the NFL failed to quickly announce to the crowd that the game had been cancelled, and fans that were expecting to enjoy a preseason game kept spending money on food and drinks without knowing there wouldn’t be a game played.
By not informing the crowd about the cancellation on time, the league kept making money despite knowing there wasn’t going to be a game, which doesn’t sit well with a lot of fans.
Doyel believes the league acted deceitful intentionally, because they still kept the countdown clock on the screens going for a game they knew wasn’t going to happen. On Monday, the league announced that it would issue a refund to people who purchased tickets to the game, but added that they wouldn’t be responsible for tickets purchased through third party sites, which happens to be the method used to purchase tickets by a lot of people.
The NFL also said it would not issue refunds for hotel accommodations, food, and travel, which is surprising because the Hall of Fame induction was on Saturday, and the people that stayed behind an extra day in Canton stayed to watch the preseason game.
As expected, when the league announced it wouldn’t issue refunds for the extra day’s stay, plenty of people that made the trip were upset because they wouldn’t have stayed an extra day of they knew the game would be cancelled, and would have saved a lot of money.
By the time the cancellation of the game was announced, some fans had spent over $50 on food, drinks, and memorabilia, and they are frustrated that the league doesn’t plan on reimbursing them.
Not issuing refunds to customers that travelled all over the country to get to Canton is not a very good look for the league, and the organizers are likely going to get sued by some disgruntled fans. While the NFL can afford to settle a lawsuit if it comes to that, it will suffer a public relations nightmare because of the way the whole situation was handled.
Cancelling the game was the right thing to do given the information provided about the state of the field, and the fact that Pittsburgh’s kicker missed the whole season after getting hurt on a similarly bad field last season.
However, if player safety was as important to the NFL as the league says it is, the field should have been in much better shape than it was on Sunday. The NFL Hall of Fame game is an annual game that is played on the same field, so it wasn’t like the league didn’t have enough time to get the field ready for the game.