Hundreds of LAFC subscribers received emails this week telling them they will not be allowed to renew their tickets after reselling “a substantial portion” of them on the secondary market.
The team, which has long said it treats its season ticket holders as family, has refused to publicly explain why it is canceling hundreds of accounts, many dating back to the team’s founding. But Seth Burton, senior vice president of communications and content, said the team would work with anyone who believes their accounts have been wrongfully targeted.
“LAFC is happy to have a conversation with any of the affected members and if there were any errors we will work to rectify the situation,” he wrote in a text message.
Several people contacted by The Times insisted they were loyal fans who actively attended games for the team’s first two seasons but did not feel safe returning during the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“I understand trying to quit scalping. But doing this during COVID? said Steve Jarrard, who hasn’t attended a game in person since the start of the 2020 season.
Jarrard, a film and television props master from Burbank, and his girlfriend, an actress, have suffered financially during the pandemic. Yet they estimate they spent over $10,000 on LAFC tickets and merchandise while losing money on tickets they resold.
Both of the couple’s tickets are in the name of his girlfriend and Jarrard said she did not want to be identified because she feared her ticket reinstatement appeal would be denied for speaking publicly about the affair. The couple want to keep their tickets behind the south goal, he said, as they plan to return to Banc of California Stadium once the pandemic is over.
“She was devastated,” Jarrard said of his girlfriend’s response to the team’s terse three-paragraph email. “She loves the team. I guess LAFC has a policy of taking seats away from people during a pandemic.
Despite the club’s statement, Jarrard and others who spoke to The Times said ticket representatives they spoke to told them there was nothing they could do to restore their accounts.
A fan who, like Jarrard, opened his subscription account long before the team played its first game, said he has co-morbidities that make playing games in the current environment life-threatening.
“I am a loyal fan. I plan to go to matches. This year it didn’t work out,” said the man, who asked not to be identified by name because he feared losing his appeal to keep his subscriptions. “I definitely lost money. It’s for the love of the team.
“I sent a call note explaining my situation,” he added. “However, I fear reprisals. …I’m a little bored. Especially the fact that we are still in a state of emergency.
Dozens of comments on LAFC’s social media accounts told similar stories. Even fans in the North Stand, home to the group of rabid supporters 3252, have complained about having their tickets revoked.
“Seems like a pretty strange decision as the pandemic isn’t over,” one person said on Reddit.
“It sucks that it happens[ed]another wrote on Facebook. “The FO office should be calling some of us asking why we have to do this. I love this club.”
According to the team’s email, which was sent on Tuesday, fans who resold a substantial portion of their tickets violated their membership agreement. But they received no warning about the resale of their tickets until they learned that their membership would not be renewed.
“No warning. No rules on how many they consider ‘too many’. Just boom,” one concerned season ticket holder wrote in an email. “Unreal.”
LAFC, in its fifth MLS season, announced sold-out sales for every game in which a full crowd was allowed at Banc of California Stadium. The club say they have more than 17,000 season ticket holders and a waiting list of several thousand more – a list that is growing now that the first-place side have added major European stars Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini.
“The fact that they didn’t say anything before Bale’s announcement seems really bad,” complained a fan on Reddit. “And if we end up being reinstated, that suggests it’s not really a ‘violation’ after all.”
A San Fernando Valley attorney, who bought his season tickets before the team played a game, spoke about the situation on the phone twice Wednesday but declined to use his name because he, too, fears it could affects the status of his call. . He doesn’t want to point fingers or speculate on the reasons for the team’s decision, he explained. He just wants his tickets back.
“It’s a team that I like. A team I will support regardless,” he said. “I absolutely want to continue to be a subscriber.”