Are The Super Bowl Fans Getting Greedy?

February 9, 2011

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On Tuesday, I mentioned the plight of fans who were left without seats to the Super Bowl after temporary seating was not deemed safe in time for the game.  The fans were given the option of standing in standing-room-only sections or watching the game from TVs within the stadium.  Hardly the experience they expected when they paid a small fortune to buy tickets from scalpers and more money for airfare, lodging, and meals.

Almost immediately, the NFL said they would give $2400 refunds to the fans.  That’s three times the face value, but face value means very little when it comes to the actual cost of Super Bowl tickets.  Certainly a nice chunk of change, but the fans still wasted vacation time and the cost of the trip for a pretty lousy experience.

On Monday, the NFL increased the offer by including tickets to next year’s Super Bowl.  The tickets would be transferable, meaning that they could be sold.  Definitely a better offer.

On Tuesday, the NFL added an additional options.  The fans could choose to receive tickets to any future Super Bowl, plus airfare and accomodations.  The fans could wait until after the conference titles games to decide whether or not to attend – meaning that they would know whether or not their team would be in the game.  Fans taking this option would not get the $2400 cash (since they are getting airfare and accomodations), nor would the tickets be transferable.  I assume that if the original ticketholder died while waiting for their team to reach the Super Bowl, the experience would be transferrable to an heir – but I’m not sure the NFL has had the time to think through these types of scenarios yet.

I’m happy with that offer.  Presumably, these fans would get decent seats to the future game (to avoid negative publicity) and covering the cost of airfare and lodging would seem to offset costs to attend this year’s game.  If you’re a Packers or Steelers fan who really wanted a seat to this year’s Super Bowl, it’s not going to completely fix that problem – but what would?  Some things are priceless, and you can’t throw money at them to fix it.

While the league and the Cowboys certainly have some blame, the winter storm that smacked much of the country was a very large factor in wreaking havoc on the preparation for the Super Bowl.  As the proverb goes, “Man plans.  God laughs.”   (Note: next year’s game will be in balmy Indianapolis.)

Today, a lawsuit was filed against the league and the Cowboys (who hosted the game)  claiming breach of contract, deceptive sales practices, and fraud.  I’ll conceded that there was a breach of contract and even the possibility of deceptive sales practices – but outright fraud?  Does anyone actually believe the NFL intended to defraud these people?  I sincerely believe that the NFL would have loved for the temporary seating to be deemed safe and to have butts in those seats.

I suspect that the league may set a deadline for accepting its offer and make fans sign a release that prevents them from suing for further damages.  Fans who join the lawsuit might end up with more money … or they might lose the lawsuit and get nothing.  I’m certainly no legal scholar, but it appears that the NFL has made a good faith effort to rectify the wrong.  Will Lady Justice see the fans as victims … or as gold diggers?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Kelly
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 15:16:48

    There are several negatives to the offer that the NFL has made, although I do agree with you Kos on the fairness that has been attempted. It is quite possible that neither team will return to the Super Bowl during a specific fan’s life, for those who are actually there for a specific team. There is also the location, I personally do not think that a long weekend in Indianapolis would be any fun, I have been there before. For that matter, I don’t want to go to NYC in February either, I use to live there. Maybe it was the only chance the ticket holder had for watching a 12 minute Black Eyed Peas concert. There is plenty ot complain about, but there is no basis for a law suite. The NFL is attempting to make restitution based on the situation and their ability to compemsate for the inconvienience. If they are suing for more than their actual costs ($2400 should be enough for real costs), than yes they are just being greedy.


  2. kosmo
    Feb 09, 2011 @ 16:14:36

    I agree that there are negatives … but the fact is that throwing more money at it won’t change any of them. If you are a Packer fan who missed out on the memory of a lifetime, no amount of money is going to magically insert that memory into your brain. (Well, maybe a trip to the right shrink, I guess …)

    The one thing the NFL might do is make the tickets transferable in all cases, with one caveat – some sort of protection on the airfare cost. This would be to prevent everyone from selling their tickets to people in Australia as a way to max out the value of the airfare, since that would be contrary to the spirit of the agreement.


  3. Evan
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 09:01:10

    I’m not sure where I stand on this – how much of this was the NFL being greedy, and trying to squeeze every last cent out of the game by selling tickets to seats that may or may not have been ready (weather notwithstanding)? As a sports fan, the cost of a ticket is but a portion of the real value of the ticket.


  4. kosmo
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 09:32:48

    “As a sports fan, the cost of a ticket is but a portion of the real value of the ticket.”

    Definitely. But I think that’s what the NFL is trying to address by giving the fans a substitute Super Bowl experience with airfare, lodging, and tickets to a future game (presumably better seats than the originals).

    For a handful, of fans, this actually might be a MUCH better deal. If you were a Dallas resident just wanting to go to the Super Bowl because it’s the Super Bowl and didn’t really have a rooting interest in either team, you might end up with a free trip to see the Cowboys in a Super Bowl elsewhere in a few years. Not saying that’s the typical situation, of course.


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