Last Minute Hall of Fame Games Cancellation Result in $5M Suit
Fans acted swiftly after seeing their long awaited Hall of Fame Games at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame stadium cancelled. Ticketholders have filed a proposed class action suit in Ohio federal court claiming breach of contract and requesting reimbursement for travel, lodging, tickets, concessions, and other expenses totaling $5 million.
The annual popular preseason event hosted adjacent the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton Ohio is a weekend long happening that includes the induction of new hall of famers. This year the Indiana Colts and the Green Bay Packers were supposed to square off at 8 p.m., however the game was cancelled around 8 p.m. by the NFL, citing safety issues for the players. The fans disagree and refer to a trend of mismanagement as the reason behind the cancellation.
The fans blame the NFL for their unnecessary out of pocket expenses, arguing that “[b]ecause of the NFL’s history of incompetent stadium management, defendants knew or should have known that they needed to closely supervise stadium setup to ensure the stadium was ready in time.” According to ticket holders, the NFL attempt at a last minute paint job a few hours before the game ruined the field. When staff tried to accelerate the drying process of the paint with heat, the paint fell on the ground and melted with the turf. As a result, parts of the field became sticky and slick, making the field unplayable. The fans contend that the NFL already knew by 6:40 p.m. that the game would be cancelled, yet the scoreboard continued to tick down to 8 p.m. and the NFL allowed fans to enter the stadium and purchase merchandise. Others complained that when they entered the stadium with their pre-purchased tickets, they were told that there were no seating left for them.
The suit provided other instances of mismanagement by the NFL, including the 2011 Super Bowl XLV where the NFL allegedly “placed ticketholders in temporary seats with obstructed views.” The NFL has issued a statement promising that the logos will be stitched into the surface to avoid repetition of this issue.
The inductees for this year included former Packers quarterback Brett Favre and former head coach Tony Dungy.