By Alfred Branch, Jr.

Alpha Tickets, a Georgia-based ticket broker, has begun offering Inclement Weather Insurance to ticket buyers of golf and tennis matches.

The optional service costs 15 percent of the ticket price, officials said, and will be offered for tickets of all major golf and tennis events, including The Masters in golf and the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Buyers will receive a full refund if the match is cancelled due to bad weather.

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Allen Raines, President of Alpha Tickets, said the key is that the refund – minus the fee for the insurance – is only paid out if there is no play that day. If the event starts and is cancelled later as bad weather blows in, the insurance does not apply.

Alpha Tickets is not the first agency to offer weather-related ticket insurance, and Raines said he began to think of the idea a couple of years ago when portions of The Masters were rained out. “We had a number of clients who were unhappy, but there was nothing we could do,” he said.

Buyers who purchased tickets previously to upcoming events can add the insurance before the event, but Raines said his company is discussing setting a cutoff date to add the insurance prior to the event. In the brief time Alpha Tickets has offered the insurance, only a few customers have bought it, Raines added. Industry wide ticket insurance is a growing trend, as customers loath having to eat the value of the ticket in the case of an unexpected emergency or bad weather.

“It’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind it offers when purchasing tickets for major golf and tennis events played outdoors,” Raines said.