All current and former holders of personal seat licenses to Bears games at Soldier Field are part of a class-action lawsuit against the city of Chicago that is seeking more than $10 million.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a ruling by Cook County (Ill.) Judge Alexander White on July 16 paved the way for class-action status. The lawsuit centers on whether or not the city can impose an amusement tax on the personal seat licenses as it does on the actual game tickets. Fans have shelled out money for the personal seat licenses but they aren’t tickets, rather a right to purchase tickets.
The Bears began selling PSL’s in 2002 when Soldier Field was renovated, pushing them for anywhere between $900 and $10,000 each for the right to buy season tickets. According to the report, the Bears originally paid a 7 percent amusement tax on the sale of PSL’s in 2002 and 2003. The amusement tax was bumped to 9 percent in 2009, and the city went to collect taxes from nearly 3,000 individuals for PSL’s the city believed were sold or transferred. Now, the class-action suit includes those individuals as well as 30,000 originals who purchased PSL’s.
White ruled that PSL’s give owners the right to purchase tickets “which would then give the ticket purchaser the right to witness an amusement.” Of course, the game tickets themselves are also taxed. The city claims it’s all part of the same thing, but curiously it has ceased trying to collect tax money on these since the lawsuit began. As it stands, if the lawsuit is successful, the Bears could also receive money back from the city for the taxes the franchise paid initially on PSL’s.
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