As we all wait for the big announcement one way or another about the fate of the Sparks, many Sparks fans that have bought season tickets for the 2014 season are now starting to wonder if they'll every get their deposits back. I decided to take a look at the last five times teams folded or relocated, to see if I could hunt down what happened to the season ticket holders and their money.
The WNBA season ended on October 9, 2009 after Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. Six days after that, Tulsa made its official request to join the league and rumors were already out that the Shock would move to Tulsa. Five days later, the move was official. Of course, some Detroit fan can correct me but I doubt that many season tickets were sold for a hypothetical Detroit season.
On December 9, 2009 the league announced that the Monarchs were folding and that a dispersal draft would be held. The league stated that the Monarchs fans that had bought season tickets would get refunds. "Monarchs season ticket holders will be notified in the near future for refunds." Note that the link also says that the WNBA's focus would be putting a team in the San Francisco Bay area...by 2011.
Sparks Watch Day 14: Can smaller ownership work?
On this latest edition of Sparks Watch, we'll take a step away from the Sparks and the Golden State Warriors specifically and throw out an open question. Can smaller ownership groups work long term in the WNBA?
The Comets sure thought they were selling season tickets for 2009. Take a look at this page. However, on December 2, 2008 it was announced that the Comets would fold and the players would be dispersed. Checks were sent out in January 2009 and the payer (according to a post on Rebkell) was the last owner, Hilton Koch.
Ownership turned the team over to the league in December 2006. In January 2007, it was announced that an attempt to move the team to Kansas City had failed. There's no information about what had happened with those who had purchased season tickets.
After the conclusion of the WNBA Finals on September 16th, it was announced on September 19, 2003 that the owners of the Rockers would no longer operate the team. The Rockers were in limbo until December 26, 2003 when it was announced that they would fold. I doubt in this case that many (if any) season tickets were sold after the announcement.
(* * *)
In two cases, it looks like the season ticket holders got their money back.
In two cases, the announcement of the team folding came so quickly after the end of the season that the likely case is that no season tickets were sold.
In one case, we have no information.
I give the probability of season ticket holders getting their cash back at 99.99 percent. I suspect it's a condition of either the ownership agreement or the sales agreement that if the team folds after season tickets are sold but before a new season takes place that the ticket holders get their cash back. In the Houston case, it looks like the last owner paid everyone back. My theory is that Madison or her LLC will end up cutting a bunch of checks if the Sparks are either disbanded or relocated.
Are you a Sparks fan who has bought season tickets for 2014? Or are you just waiting on the final fate of the Sparks? Please let us know in the comments section!
- Dogged Butler falls short at St. John's
- The 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award watch list: A closer look at the nation's top senior point guards
- Sparks Watch Day 14: Can smaller ownership work long term in the WNBA's larger markets?
- How might Chelsea Gray's injury affect her 2014 WNBA Draft stock?
- How should a ref manage a 30-0 JV basketball game?