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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Missing seats, Super Bowl tickets, and contract damages

The NFL and the people who run Cowboys Stadium built a lot of temporary seating for the Super Bowl (apparently to set an attendance record by exceeding 105,000), but approximately 1250 seats could not be installed. The league found alternative seating for 850 of those fans, but not for the remaining 400, who were turned away with a refund of triple their ticket's face value--$2400.

 Here is a contract remedy question: Are these fans entitled to more and could they successfully sue the NFL for it? Suppose Fan A spent more than $1600 on travel, hotel, and other incidental expenses involved in attending the game. He likely spent that money only because he had a ticket to the game and expected to be able to attend, and the NFL knew he will and must make those expenditures to attend the game. Sounds like reliance. So are those recoverable reliance damages? Suppose Fan B paid more than the $ 800 face value because he had to buy the ticket through a broker/scalper. The league controls who purchases tickets and must be aware that many publicly available seats are sold to people who are going to resell them at at least a small profit. I suppose a court might deny recovery there because the beyond-cost resale is against public policy. Still, could Fan B make that case?

Contracts/Remedies people, help me out.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 6, 2011 at 10:37 PM in Current Affairs, Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


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I was about to tweet NFL PR person on twitter (@greagaiello) this exact question when a friend linked me to your blog. Seems like a clear case of detrimental reliance and breach of contract to me and they should be able to recover everything they spent on going to the game. I was also curious if taking the treble offer the NFL offered was in reliance of them not suing.

Further, because it seems Jerry Jones crammed those seats in there to break a record, can they sue him (or the company that owns the stadium, which is still him) for negligence?

Posted by: lisa | Feb 7, 2011 12:45:28 AM

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