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Under Arizona law, a mere expectation of renewal of an interest in property is not a property right.
The Phoenix Suns ("Suns") generally permit season ticket holders to purchase playoff tickets and to renew their season tickets for the following year. The Suns, however, make it clear in written notices sent to season ticket holders each year that the "opportunity [to renew season tickets] is a privilege granted by the SUNS and may be withdrawn in the SUNS' discretion." The Suns' written policy further states that, "while the SUNS will exercise reasonable efforts to maintain renewal privileges, season ticket holders are not guaranteed this opportunity." Robert P. Abele, bankruptcy trustee ("Trustee"), appealed from the district court's order reversing in part and vacating in part two bankruptcy court orders permitting the Trustee to sell the debtor's Phoenix Suns regular season tickets, playoff tickets, and the opportunity to renew season tickets. The Trustee argued that the district court erred in concluding that the opportunity to renew season tickets is not a property right under Arizona law.
Is the opportunity to renew season tickets a property right under Arizona law?
The Court noted that although season ticket holders were generally awarded opportunity to renew, there was no guarantee that the Suns would extend offer. Season ticket holders were powerless to stop the Suns from declining to do so. Moreover, even if high probability of renewal of season tickets added to salable value of a season ticket account, the addition would represent a speculation on chance, not a legal right. Thus, under Arizona law, a season ticket holder's expectation of renewal of season tickets was not a property right.