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Disgruntled Fans File Suit

February 9, 2011

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the football fans who purchased tickets to last Sunday’s Super Bowl and were not able to sit in the seats they expected to have. The linked article does a good job of outlining the legal options that these fans face. They will obviously hope to recover not only the cost of the ticket, but also the cost of airfare, hotel, lost wages, and other expenses. It may also be possible to recover an amount that accounts for the fact that the tickets were bought through a secondary market in which prices far exceed the face value. In order to recover these damages, the plaintiffs will have to show a violation of Texas’s Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act or show that there was fraud involved. If a breach of contract is the only violation that is found, the recovery will most likely be much smaller.

In the meantime, the NFL is doing its part to appease fans. First, the league offered $2,400 for the tickets, which held a face value of $800. The league also offered tickets to next year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis. Now the league has offered a second option. Fans can go to any Super Bowl of their choice in the future. The NFL will even allow fans to wait until conference championship games are over before deciding.

This is a tough situation for the league. A bit of greed and a lot of hubris led to this situation. The NFL loves making money and wanted to make a little bit extra, and Jerry Jones loves being the best and wanted to have the Super Bowl with the largest amount of attendees. Somewhere in the discussions of the stadium’s suitability for extra seats logic fell victim to a desire for more. Now, the NFL will have to pay, and most likely, Jerry Jones will have to pay as well. Both parties are at fault, and they’ll have the privilege of deciding who should pay what percentage of damages.

Because the NFL and Jerry Jones are at fault, there will most likely be some sort of settlement. It may even involve some of the terms that the NFL has publicly offered. It’s obvious that the NFL could go to court and try to drag out proceedings. The league has more money and resources than the fans, but there are several reasons why a trial is not a good idea. First, the league really messed up and let down its fans. Without fans, there is no viewership and thus no sponsorship, marketing, and broadcasting revenue. The NFL wants this to go away and should do right by the fans in order to make the problem disappear. Another reason why there should be a quick solution to this lawsuit is the ongoing labor situation. The league has enough on its plate and needs to focus on keeping the product on the field. It will offer a nice settlement to the fans and move on. The steps that the league has already taken seem to show that it understands its wrongdoing, and it is willing to be flexible in finding a solution.

– Jason

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