Fan Brings Class Action Suit Against NFL Over Super Bowl Ticket Price
NFL fans know they are going to have to shell out big bucks if they want to go to the Super Bowl. At the time this was written, tickets were priced at a minimum of $2,500 on ticket resale websites. Despite getting a “deal” and only paying $2,000 a piece for his tickets, Josh Finkelman filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL in a New Jersey federal court on January 6th, 2014.
Finkelman alleges the NFL violated New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act by limiting the number of tickets available to the general public. New Jersey law states, “It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets’ release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5% of all available seating for the event.”
According to the complaint, many independent analyses have shown the NFL only sells 1% of the Super Bowl tickets to the public. The suit contends that “individual franchise teams do not make their allotments available to the general public, but instead offer them, in large part to resellers, who grossly inflate the price and then repackage the tickets into costly packages…” These tickets are promised to the resellers through contracts entered into yeas before the tickets are even printed.
Finkelman brought suit on behalf of all buyers who paid more than face value for their tickets and anybody who wanted, but couldn’t afford, tickets on the secondary market. He says the NFL must sell 95% to the public at face value under the New Jersey law. Moreover, that 95% doesn’t include season ticket holders, Finkelman contends.
The NFL said, “Our lawyers will review the complaint and respond accordingly.” According to the league, Super Bowl tickets are distributed according to the following structure: 35% are split amongst the two competing teams; the host team receives 6.2%; 28% is split between the remaining teams; and 25% stays with the NFL.
It is too early to tell what will happen with the suit, but if successful, it could have broad implications. Finkelman is seeking triple damages which could total in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Moreover, it could force the NFL to sell more tickets to the public at face value.