NFL Forces Man To Buy Super Bowl Tickets, Litigation Ensues

On January 6, 2014, New Jersey citizen Josh Finkelman sued the NFL in federal court after he paid $4,000.00 for two tickets to the Super Bowl.  I can only speculate how the Super Bowl Ticket Litigation began.  Here’s my guess:

Mrs. Finkelman:  You spent how much on Super Bowl tickets?  We could go on a nice family vacation to Miami or Myrtle Beach for $4,000.00, and you spent it all on some stupid football game that you want to go to with your idiot friends!

Mr. Finkelman: [initially debating whether to pull the fire alarm or jump out of a window, but finally comes up with a brilliant excuse] Honey, it wasn’t me.  The NFL made me do it. Then they made the tickets more expensive than they should be.   It’s criminal really.  I think I’m going to file a lawsuit!

Mrs. Finkelman:  [rolling eyes and trying to remember the number for the divorce attorney from TV] Okay, you do that.  You file a lawsuit.

Of course, the above is merely speculation.  However, my hypothetical explanation is less far-fetched than Mr. Finkelman’s theory of liability against the NFL. Mr. Finkelman believes that he was forced to pay $4,000.00 for two Super Bowl tickets because the NFL offered 4 percent less tickets to the general public than it should have.  That is, New Jersey consumer protection laws allegedly require that 5 percent of tickets to an event be offered to the general public.  Because the NFL offers only 1 percent to the general public (and gives the rest to teams, networks, broadcasters, etc.), scalpers charge more for the tickets than they should on the secondary market, and Mr. Finkelman was somehow forced to buy these exorbitantly priced tickets from scalpers.  Interesting theory. Maybe there’s something to this, maybe there isn’t, but here are my initial thoughts:

Super Bowl tickets are expensive.  Everyone expects them to be expensive, and everyone knows that most people cannot afford to go to the Super Bowl.  It is the most prestigious sporting event in the United States.  It should not surprise anyone when tickets to the Super Bowl go for $2,000.00 per ticket.  Frankly, I would not be surprised if Super Bowl tickets were $40,000.00 per ticket. Also, how did the NFL force Mr. Finkelman to buy Super Bowl tickets from scalpers?  This is America.  If you don’t like the price, don’t buy the tickets.  Watch the game on your couch like everyone else.  The commercials are the best part of the game anyway.  I would argue that the NFL tried to discourage people from buying tickets by having the game in East Rutherford, New Jersey in February. Perhaps Mr. Finkelman is a fan of an AFC team and got a bad case of buyer’s regret when he realized that the Panthers are a lock to win the Super Bowl this year.

(Hat Tip: Reason).

Comments

  1. Interesting post, but I think you’re glossing over some of the key facts as alleged in the complaint.

    The complaint claims that the NFL distributes a significant number of tickets to NFL teams, which then sell them to secondary sellers, who then re-sell the tickets. According to the complaint, the alleged ticket distribution violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act because less than 1% of the tickets are made available to the general public.

    The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, NJSA 58:-35.1, 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.

    Under the statute, it’s irrelevant that “[e]veryone expects” Super Bowl tickets to be expensive and Finkelman could “[w]atch the game on your couch like everyone else.”

    I also hope you haven’t bet on the Panthers to win the championship…