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Can My Family Inherit My Season Tickets?

By Stephen J. Silverberg
New York Elder Law Attorney

Getting season tickets is a long game for New Yorkers, and everyone knows someone who waited decades before getting them. I’ve had my New York Jets season tickets for many, many years, and hope to pass the tickets to my sons. But the sporting world has become more complicated than it was.

Will professional sports owners still allow you to pass your prized season tickets along?

The answer is it depends.

A season ticket is a contract between the ticket holder and the sports team. The terms are up to the sports team. Look at the paperwork or emails you receive along with the tickets to see if they are transferable after death.

Professional sports teams have their own process and paperwork for transferring season tickets, and there may be restrictions. The team may limit transfers to family members or surviving spouses. An original death certificate may be required. Or teams may explicitly state that the tickets cannot be transferred by will or trust, allow transfers only to a spouse or close family members, or require that ticket holders follow certain procedures to transfer the tickets. Each one will be different.

If you have New York Jets season tickets and want to pass them along (or Giants, or Nicks), you’ll want to be familiar with the team’s own rules and the estate law pertaining to this asset. It’s different from other personal property.

For example, some teams have a form you will need to fill out when you purchase season tickets, designating a beneficiary to inherit your tickets. Other teams state that only a spouse can use a deceased fan’s season tickets. Still others allow transfers only to a parent, spouse, child, or sibling. If there is no surviving family member who can take over the tickets, the tickets go back to the team.

Many teams require fans to purchase a Personal Seat License (“PSL”).  The price of a PSL can range from $5,000 up to $25,000 depending on the location of the seat. Owning a PSL gives you the right to purchase tickets for a specific seat. If you want four seats, you must purchase four PSLs. The price of the tickets is based on the location of the seats. The fan pays a large fee to buy a license for particular seats and may then buy season tickets for those seats. Most teams allow PSLs to be transferred during their lifetime or upon death.

However, not every team operates the same. The New York Giants require a PSL for every seat in the stadium. The New York Jets only require PSLs for seats in the two lower decks. No PSL is necessary for seats in the upper deck. Before implementing PSLs, the Jets allowed the transfer of season tickets to anyone. Now, only seats with PSLs can be transferred. Where there is no PSL, the tickets are forfeited upon the death of the ticket owner.

If you’ve got questions about transferring season tickets to family members, please call the office to make an appointment – 516-307-1236.

About the Author
Stephen J. Silverberg is nationally recognized as a leader in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and elder law. He is a past president of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a founding member and past president of the New York State chapter of NAELA.