Eagles offer season ticket deferment plan

In light of the NFL work stoppage, the Eagles will announce to their season ticket holders later this afternoon a deferment option on the second installment of payment on ticket plans for the coming season.

The Eagles are just one of a handful of teams to give their fans this choice. Many teams have already collected full payment for next season, including Dallas, Pittsburgh and New England.

The New York Giants announced last month that they wouldn’t require their season ticket holders to pay anything until there was a resolution between the owners and players. The Giants gave their fans the option to defer payment or pay in full by May 1.

The New York Jets, like the Eagles, already took 50 percent but said they wouldn’t ask for the rest until training camp dates were announced. The Panthers asked for 10 percent up front and will defer the remainder until there is a new collective bargaining agreement in place.

“In light of that the work stoppage is ongoing and continuing and now that we’ve had a chance to kind of look at things through that prism this seems to be fair and seems to provide flexibility,” said Don Smolenski, Eagles Chief Operating Officer. “We’ve had fans who have asked and it makes sense. It’s the right thing to do.”

The Eagles will send out a notice this afternoon via e-mail and regular mail informing ticket holders of the plan. In the electronic version there will be a link to a page that gives two options – pay now or defer payment until June 7 or until there is an official announcement that the 2011 season would happen.

To choose deferment, ticket holders must provide credit card information so the Eagles will have enough time to process the orders if the lockout drags close to or into the season.

“We have to process the payment, print the tickets, distribute the tickets – all that takes time,” Smolenski said. “And not knowing how this will all shake out or when it will shake out, we could be in a situation where we have to move quickly.”

Invoices for season tickets were mailed out in January with the first payment due by March 8. Smolenski said the Eagles received “virtually 100 percent” of the first installment. Thirty-five percent paid in full.

Three days later the players union decertified and the owners locked them out, essentially shutting down the league. The Eagles informed their season ticket holders then that they would refund their payment in full – plus any accrued interest – if any games were lost to the lockout.

“And now we’re offering this deferral option,” Smolenski said. “I think it’s among the fan friendliest.”