Saturday, February 12, 2011 Breaking Down The Cost of Super Bowl Trip & The Importance of Not Setting Precedent for NFL

Jeremy Stahl of has written an article on the Super Bowl seating issue (yes "issue" is a bit of a euphemism).

Stahl breaks down some of the average outlay of costs associated with a Super Bowl trip to Arlington:
Rooms at a Super 8 Motel near the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday were going for $700. Round-trip tickets from Milwaukee to Dallas were selling for $845, while roundtrips from Pittsburgh to Dallas went for $821. Michael Avenatti, the attorney representing the aggrieved fans, also pointed me to a press release from Ticketmaster issued on the Wednesday before the game. The release reported that the cheapest seats on NFL Exchange, "the official ticket resale marketplace of the NFL," were being sold for $2,907, while the average ticket resale cost was $4,118.87.
The NFL has offered one free ticket, along with round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations to any Super Bowl as compensation for having to watch the game on televisions inside Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. An alternative offer of $2,400 plus a ticket to next year’s Super Bowl still stands.

This offer is only extended to the 400 displaced fans and not to the around 860 fans who were moved seats.

As per previous postings, the 400 displaced fans have a reasonable claim at contract law since they didn't get their seats. Their damages may be conquerable to the offer made by the NFL - or exceed it. As for the 860 fans that were seated elsewhere in the stadium - that's a tougher claim. They may be entitled to the difference in value of the seats but not much more. That's why the NFL hasn't made them an offer. And that's why they're suing. Many thought they did not get similar or better seats as initially announced by the NFL.

Michale Smith reports in his article, One of the 850 displaced fans calls Super Bowl Sunday “a nightmare”, that Packer fan Peter D’Amico arrived at Cowboys Stadium 7 hours before the game and just barely made it to his seat in time for kickoff.

D'Amico also spoke of the "riot"-like atmosphere:
Also troubling is D’Amico’s description of the atmosphere at the Cowboys Stadium ticket gate, where the 1,250 fans were instructed to go to find out where they would be sitting (or in some cases standing) during the game.

“A couple of people stood in the center of groups of us speaking loudly about what was going on, but anyone in the back of the area couldn’t hear them,” he said. “It became almost a riot-type atmosphere. Some people were so upset they were ready to do something. . . . It started getting kind of ugly.”
This case will likely settle. From the NFL's standpoint, it is important not to set a precedent that encourages fans with frivolous complaints to make a claim against the league. The last thing the NFL wants is a lawsuit based on a fan's complaint that another fan's afro in the seat in front of him obstructed his view. Little extreme but you get the point.

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