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Grand Prix of St. Petersburg officials defend no refunds for canceled race

They say the options offered to ticket-holders “extend beyond the policy” printed on the back of tickets.
The grandstands were empty as cars were brought onto the track on Friday during what was supposed to be opening day at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
The grandstands were empty as cars were brought onto the track on Friday during what was supposed to be opening day at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 15, 2020|Updated Mar. 15, 2020

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ST. PETERSBURG — The promoters behind the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg defended their decision to issue credits, but not refunds, to those who bought tickets to this weekend’s canceled race.

In a Sunday statement, Green Savoree Racing Promotions said the credit offer extends “beyond the policy” that ticket-holders “accepted and agreed to at the time of purchase.” That policy, the statement said, is that sales are final and there will be no refunds.

The statement included language lifted from the back of each ticket, which makes clear ticket-holders are not entitled to refunds even if the race is canceled.

“This policy is posted on the event website, the point of purchase ticketing system used and agreed to at time of purchase by customers, and on the back of each event ticket,” the statement said, which called the language “customary and standard in the industry.”

IndyCar announced the cancellation of the Grand Prix, which was supposed to be the racing series’ first event of the season, on Friday over concerns of the coronavirus pandemic. That announcement came one day after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said the race could go on, but without fans in the stands.

On Saturday night, Green Savoree, which owns the St. Petersburg race, told ticket-holders they had two options to recoup the cost of their ticket, though neither was an outright refund. Ticket-holders could apply the cost of their ticket to next year’s Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, or apply a credit worth 110 percent of their ticket price to admission to one of three other races promoted by Green Savoree: the July 12 Honda Indy Toronto; the Aug. 16 Honda Indy 200 in Lexington, Ohio; and the Sept. 6 Grand Prix of Portland in Oregon.

The lack of a refund option prompted some to blast the decision on Twitter, with some users saying they made plans to travel to St. Petersburg and couldn’t attend the other races.

The statement seemed to try to address some of those criticisms.

“This decision was not made lightly and was formed from research done across live sports, music and entertainment events nationally,” the statement said. “It also considered unique temporary, purpose-built venues like ours which had events cancelled due to these extraordinary circumstances.”

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STATEMENT.

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