As we suspected, the league knew about the potential problem with temporary seating well before Sunday. According to the Dallas Morning News, nothing was said about the situation because the NFL believed it had a “very good shot” at getting the situation resolved.
“We made a judgment that it was the right course of action to bring the fans in, rather than to discourage them or create a sense that they wouldn’t have the information necessary,” NFL executive V.P. of business ventures Eric Grubman said.
With all due respect, baloney.
The NFL remains at all times sensitive to P.R. And after a weather fiasco compounded by not what fell from the sky but by the absence of any plan for removing the ice that coated every horizontal surface in the area (other than, you know, “wait for it to melt” . . . which ultimately gave way to “wait for six inches of snow to cover it up”), the league opted to zip it and hope for the best, even if it meant a much greater level of inconvenience and frustration for the folks who showed up on Sunday and found out that the very small print on the back of their ticket the following disclaimer: “There is no guarantee that you will actually be able to sit in the seat to which this ticket corresponds.”
The fair and proper thing to do would have been to ‘fess up to the problem from the outset, and to commit to providing fans with full and complete information about the status of the situation and to offer an opportunity for a refund before showing up at the stadium, before coming to Dallas, and/or before buying the affected tickets at a mark-up. But the league rolled the dice in the hopes of getting luck and avoiding another embarrassment, and possibly in the hopes of ensuring that the people who had tickets that ended up being something other than tickets would be counted toward the failed effort to break the league’s single-game attendance record.
“The attendance record was not the goal,” Grubman said. “The goal was to use this great building in a way that showcased the NFL, showcased North Texas and showcased the great players we have in the NFL.”
Moving forward, the fair and proper thing to do will be to provide not only a triple-refund for the tickets that ended up being worthless or free tickets to a Super Bowl that, based on recent history, likely won’t include the Steelers and/or the Packers but also give a complete and total refund of every dime spent in getting to and staying in Dallas.
From a P.R. standpoint, it makes a lot more sense to settle up with those fans before the class-action lawsuit is filed. And we predict it will be filed by the end of the week.