For many, estate planning includes specific wishes to pass items of sentimental value to specific beneficiaries. For some, this might be a classic car or an heirloom piece of jewelry – but for those who share a passion for a favorite football team with a child or other beneficiary, the ability to pass on season tickets might be one of the most memorable and meaningful components of an estate plan. The ability to do so varies from program to program.
Season ticket accounts are only transferrable with the prior approval of the Ford Field ticket office. Generally, partial transfers or subdividing of accounts will not be approved. Season ticket holders wishing to transfer tickets must contact the ticket office to discuss the proposed transfer. Transfers to both individuals and businesses are allowed.
The official policy of the ticket office is to only allow the transfer of a season ticket holder’s account to the holder’s surviving spouse upon death of the season ticket holder, though the office may work with other family members in some circumstances.
For those who want to ensure that their tickets are able to be transferred to someone other than a surviving spouse and who are comfortable giving up some control, a lifetime transfer of tickets is an option. Since 2015, the ticket office has allowed season ticket holders to transfer their football season tickets to another person during the month of December, with the particular December deadline changing from year to year. The transfer fee per seat ranges from $80 for End Zone Tier tickets to $700 for Victors Tier tickets; $700 to $1,250 for tickets in chairback zones; $900 to $1,850 for Outdoor Club seats; and $2,000 for Indoor Club seats.
It is important to note that the transfer is permanent; the recipient becomes the new season ticket holder for all transferred tickets. Regardless of who pays the transfer fee, priority points for the transfer are awarded to the new season ticket holder and the new season ticket holder is responsible for the cost of the tickets going forward, including the preferred seat contribution. Note that the transfer fee is in addition to, and does not replace, the preferred seat contribution. In addition, season tickets may only be transferred to an individual aged 18 or older, not a business, trust, or organization, and there is a maximum of eight premium tickets per account.
Parking and priority points are not transferable. An option for someone who is confident in their transferee’s ability and willingness to accept and maintain the tickets, but who also wants to maintain their points for away game and bowl game offerings, is to retain at least one ticket and transfer the remaining ticket(s). Note that season ticket transfer fees are neither refundable nor revocable, even if the recipient does not follow through with the steps necessary to receive the tickets.
Michigan State Spartans
In general, season tickets may only be transferred to the holder’s immediate family members unless special permission is obtained from the Spartan Fund.
For more information about including your season tickets in your estate plan, contact your Varnum estate planning attorney.
This advisory was originally posted on November 11, 2019, and was updated on December 12, 2022.