A novel idea, it is not. A noble gesture in these hard times, it may be.
Yesterday the Minnesota Timberwolves, winners of just eight home games this season, offered their season-ticket holders a buy-back plan. Called the "No Risk" Pledge, it allows for any buyer who loses his or her job at any point during 2009, the full value of the unused tickets will be refunded.
What's the catch? Ostensibly there is none, simply requiring that government paperwork be provided to prove unemployment, but the Timberwolves are fighting their own decline. A look at the team's attendance figures over the last five years shows a shrinking percentage chart similar to that of Wall Street's fade. The average attendance per game has steadily spiraled downward by almost 20 percent. Even with last year's eye-catching offer of permitting 500 fans to pay the position of the Wolves lottery pick (No. 3) for each game during the season, totaling in a $129 season ticket, the fans remained committed to staying away until the on-court product improves.
Following in the footsteps of Stanford football, which arranged its own money-back guarantee of sorts last fall, the Timberwolves will watch to see if their community relations effort proves to be an boon to the fanbase's morale -- or just another failed attempt to attract attention.
Lose your job, return your tickets [Sports Biz with Darren Rovell/CNBC.com]