The National Football League is headed to the UK this month as a part of a series of games overseas. However, UK football fans who purchased tickets through the now-bankrupt travel company Thomas Cook are now feeling the burn.
This weekend, the Chicago Bears will take on the Oakland Raiders at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 6, followed by a game at the stadium between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 13. Then, the Cincinnati Bengals will play the Los Angeles Rams at Wembley Stadium on October 27 and another game will follow on November 3 between the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Many UK fans bought tickets through Thomas Cook, however, the company collapsed last month, leaving thousands of international air travelers stranded. Now, the NFL UK has released a statement noting that they did not receive any details on ticket purchasers from Thomas Cook or received any payments for tickets sold through the company.
Mike Chapman, who lives in a village just outside of Cardiff, told the Tampa Bay Times that he purchased tickets for his son Macs’ 16th birthday; his son had found a newfound love of football after a family trip to Florida in 2017. When tickets originally went on sale through Ticketmaster, they sold out immediately, so Chapman took to Thomas Cook. He purchased a package that ended up costing a little more than $600, something that is “way more than we’d usually spend for his present.”
“Our excitement just built up and built up until … Thomas Cook went bankrupt,” Chapman said. “Our position at the moment is our hotel has been cancelled, the tailgate party is not happening and we are emailing NFL UK constantly.”
Chapman doesn’t know where to go from here; does he have to pay for another round of tickets without getting a refund? A handful of other fans are equally as confused about the ordeal, sharing their experiences on social media. While Chapman told the Times that although this is a “small thing” compared to the Thomas Cook employees who lost their jobs, he doesn’t know if or when Macs will have the chance to see the Bucs again, as “they may not come to London again for a decade or so.”
The NFL urges customers to contact their credit card issuer to receive information about refunds and request the opportunity to re-purchase tickets on their site.
“Unfortunately, NFL UK has not received any details on ticket purchasers from Thomas Cook, nor has NFL UK received payments for any tickets sold by Thomas Cook,” the NFL UK said in the statement. “NFL UK is unable to offer refunds on any tickets, travel or accommodations purchased through Thomas Cook.”
Those who purchased tickets through Thomas Cook should send their proof of purchase to the NFL at TCBuccaneers@nfl.com and a representative will be in contact once their sale has been verified.
According to the Facebook group, people have been receiving calls from representatives today and are able to secure tickets to their game of choice this month. Those who reached out regarding their tickets for Game 1 should receive a call by Wednesday at 2 p.m.