Much partnered with Access Living, a leading disability service and advocacy center, in filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on September 13, 2023, alleging the Chicago White Sox have discriminatory ticket sales practices and that the organization refuses to offer equal benefits to people with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The suit alleges that the White Sox refuse to sell ADA-accessible season tickets on their website. This forces people with disabilities who want season tickets to call to make a purchase, limiting the seats they can purchase to the few offered over the phone instead of allowing them to choose from all unsold accessible seats like standard season ticket purchasers can do on the website.
The suit also alleges the White Sox have discriminatory restrictions on the website sale of accessible single-game tickets, only offering a small percentage of accessible seats for sale, and frequently limiting them to only certain areas of the stadium or certain games during the year. For the majority of this season, the suit alleges that the White Sox website primarily offered accessible seating in the outfield or upper deck. Only after the White Sox were assured of not making the playoffs did the White Sox release some accessible seats for sale closer to the infield on the main level.
“It is incredibly frustrating and disheartening to see people with disabilities have to resort to legal action just so they can enjoy a sport dear to American culture,” said Charles Petrof, senior attorney for Access Living.
The suit asks the court to declare that the White Sox current practice of not offering for sale all unsold wheelchair-accessible seats in White Sox Park for season tickets and individual game tickets violates the ADA.
“Disabled people deserve to enjoy the same passions as everyone else, and federal law has made this clear when it comes to public accommodations. Baseball is America’s game and with the White Sox long legacy in Chicago and the team’s variety of fans, the White Sox should want every one of them – including those with disabilities – to be able to enjoy a game,” said Steve Blonder, principal at Much.