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Temporary seating fiasco a black eye for the Super Bowl

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A day after the Super Bowl, people in Dallas are still shaking their heads at the NFL’s decision to sell tickets in “temporary seating” areas that never got finished, resulting in 400 ticket holders having to watch the game on TV.

And some fans are doing a lot more than shaking their heads: They’re cursing the NFL, Commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for failing to have the stadium ready.

Goodell knew the ticket fiasco was a major black eye for the league, bringing it up before he introduced Aaron Rodgers at the Super Bowl MVP press conference.

“We had an issue with several seats for our fans,” Goodell said. “It’s something that we have been taking very seriously, working at it. We apologize to those fans that were impacted by this. We are going to work with them and we are going to do better in the future.”

It’s not clear how the NFL is going to “work with” the ticket holders who didn’t get to see the game, but those ticket holders, some of whom were chanting “NFL sucks!” and “Jerry sucks!” on Sunday, are clearly unhappy.

“This is absolutely ridiculous,” said Glen Long, a Steelers season-ticket holder who traveled to Dallas for the game but ended up stuck watching on TV in the bowels of Cowboys Stadium. “That would be fraud anywhere in the world if you sold tickets to an event that you knew you didn’t have. That’s just wrong.”

The NFL said it was refunding the affected tickets at triple the cost, meaning $2,400 for $800 tickets and $2,700 for $900 tickets. But that simply isn’t good enough. According to StubHub, the average Super Bowl ticket cost $3,559. If that’s what you paid for one of the affected seats, your triple refund didn’t cover what you spent on getting into the game, let alone what you spent on airfare and accommodations in Dallas.

It’s also still not clear how the NFL found new seats for the 850 other people who were in temporary seating areas that weren’t ready to go. The NFL said it made space for those 850 because it had some tickets set aside in case of problems. But there have been reports that some of the 850 were accommodated by taking seats away from Cowboys staff and families. So some low-level Cowboys employee who promised his kid they’d go to the Super Bowl had to break that promise because the NFL sold tickets to seats that weren’t built?

The issue came out of nowhere a couple hours before kickoff, when it was revealed that the fire marshal hadn’t approved the temporary seating. It’s hard to understand how the NFL sold tickets to seats that hadn’t been approved, but Goodell insisted that the decision not to let the ticket holders into those seats was a necessary one.

“The one thing we will never do is compromise safety,” he said.

One would hope that another thing the NFL would never do is sell Super Bowl tickets to seats that didn’t exist.

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41 Responses to “Temporary seating fiasco a black eye for the Super Bowl”
  1. quittsburghsquealers says: Feb 7, 2011 10:02 AM

    This is a minor problem for the NFL to be concerned about.

    They need to be more worried about working out a new CBA soon…

  2. tombrookshire says: Feb 7, 2011 10:11 AM

    Jones and co. really screwed the pooch in Dallas. Fans losing their paid seats to fire officials concerns. Failure to properly prepare for and deal with the snow and ice, people getting severely injured. Failure to anticipate! Something you rarely see from the NFL. It was more like a textbook government operation.

  3. calloustongue says: Feb 7, 2011 10:13 AM

    You tore up Aaron Rodgers for his supposed snubbing of a cancer patient.

    How about Jerry Jones and the NFL screwing handicapped people out of their paid seats by erecting extra benches over their spots? Then telling them, too bad, go watch the game in the rain.

    Then on top of that, they didn’t even open the bleachers.

    I hope it’s a long time before Dallas gets another SB.

  4. rooneyruleblues says: Feb 7, 2011 10:14 AM

    I say the black eyed peas were as well.

  5. east96st says: Feb 7, 2011 10:15 AM

    Isn’t this same NFL that we, the fans, are supposed to trust completely when they complain a lockout is necessary because they are “losing money” and that claims to have the fans best interests at heart and knows “what we want”? Here’s a Business 101 lesson, don’t sell a product you don’t have. While it’s a nice gesture to offer triple the cost refund, it’s also not a particular competent and well thought out business plan. And for those who would claim “who could see this coming?”, please remember the very first game at Jerruh’s place was a fiasco because they let too many people in and the fire marshals told Jerruh in no uncertain terms not to have that many people again. Someone with, oh, let’s say an eighth grade education, should have realized that the fire marshal should have been consulted PRIOR to the sale and installation of those seats. Whether what you’re doing is legal or not, should really be one of your first considerations as a business owner.

  6. angrycorgi says: Feb 7, 2011 10:17 AM

    “That would be fraud anywhere in the world if you sold tickets to an event that you knew you didn’t have. That’s just wrong.”

    Oh yeah? I guess you’ve never fallen victim to the airlines and their over-booking strategy. They’ve only been doing that (and getting away with it) for over 40 years.

    And since when is the average seat cost = the nosebleeds?? These weren’t the average ticket holder. These people were getting low-rent seats, not $3600 seats. Way to skew reality. I guess we shold pretend that PFT doesn’t run around throwing gasoline on everything ( Aaron Rodgers fiasco ) to try and boost hits and that they’re a respectable news outlet.

  7. tim1999 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:19 AM

    They spit on the fans. Just outrageous. A definite black eye for the NFL.
    Boomer Esiason was on WEEI in Boston this morning and called this Super Bowl set-up one of the worst he’s ever seen.
    Perhaps if Goodell spent more time making sure Dallas was ready to handle this Super Bowl rather than “telling his personal story” things would have been different.

  8. toe4 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:19 AM

    It appears as if Jerry Jones failed as badly at hosting a Super Bowl as the Cowboys failed this season.

  9. closisgood says: Feb 7, 2011 10:22 AM

    Because airlines don’t do that on a regular basis.

  10. icematrix69 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:23 AM

    Just another reflection of the amount of greed the NFL has. I can almost read the class action suit now. Here’s hoping that all displaced fans receive compensation for not only their tickets but air fair and accommodations but a nice chunk for punitive damages.

    NFL should be ashamed!!!

  11. chace1986 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:26 AM

    I sit here this evening loving that I watched a great game….but I’m sad to say that I hate where it seems that the league is heading. You hear Goodell thanking the fans and such…but the leagues actions lately have contradicted that supposed “gratitude”. First, there is the rediculus statement that “The fans want 18 games”. No, its not broke, so leave it alone. Second, there is the issue with fans not getting into the stadium and only being reimbursed for 3X the listed seating price. The NFL made millions upon millions upon millions tonight, reimburse 5x and give them tix to next years game as well….at the least. Then there is the fight between the Millionaires and Billionaires which seems to be going nowhere and just makes the NFL look like a corrupt Wall Street corporation rather than something that middle class Americans can love and enjoy. This Super Bowl was filled by missteps and errors, and can all be attributed to trying to find a way to sqeeze the fans for every dime possible and to break an attendance record. The NFL fan needs to be more important than feeding JJ’s ego. Ok, rant over.

  12. clintonportisheadd says: Feb 7, 2011 10:31 AM

    I just saw video of where they put these folks.

    They herded them into a “holding area” deep inside the stadium and kept them segregated from the rest of the crowd. THey have must have felt like protesters at a Bush rally!

    And if the NFL ended up kicking out Cowboy employees from their seats to try to fix the situation then its just more fuel for the fire. Just how did that work for those employees? “Heres 4 tickets for the Super Bowl BUT if we need the seats due a screw up you are getting booted..”

    We learned two things this week: 1) The Packers are the best team in football and 2) Dallas and Jerry Jones don’t have a clue how to handle a big time event.

  13. akismet-c7ced78fa0ffb62cf23382e052305f29 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:33 AM

    Since when does the owner of the stadium have control of the ticket sales of the Super Bowl?

    Oh wait, they dont.

    Keep being dumb.

  14. tommytd says: Feb 7, 2011 10:34 AM

    Is there ANYTHING this Goodell guy has been involved with that he hasn’t screwed up??? Maybe he’s the problem and maybe the owners should give some serious thought to dumping his incompetent ass. This year has been one No Fun League fiasco after another and it’s becoming rather tiring.

  15. amanistumor says: Feb 7, 2011 10:35 AM

    Can someone say class action? Or is it civil?

    *** I don’t know which one fits, but I would suspect one IS coming… Open up dem wallet’s NFL, Goodell, Jerriah!

  16. angrycorgi says: Feb 7, 2011 10:35 AM

    “the fire marshals told Jerruh in no uncertain terms not to have that many people again”

    Sorry, it doesn’t work that way and that simply didn’t happen. First, the fire marshall is never going to say “its okay this time, but never again”. It’s either a code violation or its not. You are referring to the party pass fiasco before, not the temp seating that recently failed to meet safety requirements. That was the league’s move to oversell the stadium, not Jerry’s evil plan as you’d like everyone to believe.

    PFT is providing nothing but conjecture at this point as to the actual events that occurred. They just admitted at the end of this article that they have no ideo why the seats were deemed “unsafe”. And neither do you.

  17. dfeltz says: Feb 7, 2011 10:36 AM

    “So some low-level Cowboys employee who promised his kid they’d go to the Super Bowl had to break that promise because the NFL sold tickets to seats that weren’t built?”

    Ah, I almost shed tear there.

  18. eustus says: Feb 7, 2011 10:40 AM

    Brian McCarthy tweeted 10 minutes ago –

    @NFLprguy The 400 fans w/out seats last nite went on field postgame, received free merchandise, food, beverage, $2,400, free SB46 tix

    Really? I guess that’s somewhat comforting but you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. The story has already gone out on all the major networks that these people had to watch the game on big screen TVs and all they would be getting is $2400 (which is a lot less than what they paid through the official scalper of the nFL, stubhub).

    Not the kind of black eye the league needs going into labour negotiations. This GM has turned the League Office into Romper Room. This league became number 1 by staying away from moronic publicity stunts and letting the broadcast partners come up with the hyperbole. Now they are trying to drive it themselves and are screwing up bigtime.

    Goodell has to go.

  19. chapnastier says: Feb 7, 2011 10:40 AM

    “Jones and co. really screwed the pooch in Dallas. Fans losing their paid seats to fire officials concerns. Failure to properly prepare for and deal with the snow and ice, people getting severely injured. Failure to anticipate! Something you rarely see from the NFL. It was more like a textbook government operation.”

    The seating situation can’t really be the fault of Jerry Jones if he submitted the request to the fire marshal. The fire marshal should be blamed for his lack of urgency regarding the situation. But even more out of left field is your claim that Jerry Jones caused the ice storm and was supposed to be sure there was enough salt on hand and that there were enough snow plows to apply the salt. I understand that everyone hates Jerry Jones and the Cowboys but you can’t just throw out dumb statements like that.

    Failure to anticipate the snow? How often does it snow in Texas?

  20. quizguy66 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:46 AM

    The NFL should do right by these 400 fans. This is especially true since given where the temporary seating was these are probably almost all every-day type folks who don’t have the connections to get into a box and have their girlfriend feed them popcorn.

    The NFL should offer these 400 fans a pair of prime seats for 1 of the next 10 Super Bowls (giving the fan a chance to possibly see their team in the big game again if they make it). Airfare and accommodations included. They certainly have enough money that they can spare this small expense. And as they already admitted, they hold back a certain number of seats each year for just such an emergency.

    If they want to avoid a fan taking the offer and reselling make the tickets will-call with id on the day of the Super Bowl.

    C’mon NFL – take care of your loyal fans.

    -QG

  21. somesome says: Feb 7, 2011 10:51 AM

    what about all the other expenses … airfare, hotel, rental car, potentially taking off from work????? Unbelievable, greedy mofos … selling tickets to seats that don’t exist ….

  22. unclescrappy says: Feb 7, 2011 10:53 AM

    The NFL had better open up their checkbook & make this right. They DEFINETLY did not do the right thing in any way, shape or form.

    Option 1 should be. Free ticket to next years superbowl (If there is one), Free Airfare, Free 1 week Hotel room (at the Official NFL Hotel) and Free Passses to Superbowl Parties.

    Now that would be a FAIR deal. You screwed me once, now you pick up the whole bill to make it right.

  23. lasher1650 says: Feb 7, 2011 10:54 AM

    Karmic retribution rears its head and bites Jones in the butt. This is what he gets for driving the league into a certain work-stoppage.

    Hope your pre-noon Grey Goose is especially difficult to swallow this morning you old drunk knowing that “your” Super Bowl will always be remembered for the fiasco that surrounded the game as opposed to the game itself.

  24. PCa Survivor says: Feb 7, 2011 11:02 AM

    angrycorgi says:
    Feb 7, 2011 10:17 AM

    “Oh yeah? I guess you’ve never fallen victim to the airlines and their over-booking strategy. They’ve only been doing that (and getting away with it) for over 40 years.”

    “Way to skew reality.”

    __________________

    The airlines are operating under the law. Overbooking is a standard practice to compensate for no shows and is perfectly legal. You may never have been bumped but may have taken advantage of offering your seat for compensation. If there are no initial offers the price continues to increase until there are takers. The market at work. This is analogy is comparing apples with oranges. Rotten apples for JerryWorld and the NFL.

    Way to skew reality.

  25. lbijake says: Feb 7, 2011 11:17 AM

    Two years to work out the bugs. Two months to install temporary seats but could not because of bad weather in the last week. Mr. DeMille, I definitely am not ready for my close up.

  26. olcap says: Feb 7, 2011 11:20 AM

    Roger Goodell is a “major black eye to the league”.

  27. olcap says: Feb 7, 2011 11:21 AM

    Jerry Jones is another black eye to the league.

  28. harrisonhits2 says: Feb 7, 2011 11:44 AM

    “It’s hard to understand how the NFL sold tickets to seats that hadn’t been approved”

    What’s hard to understand ? The raw greed exhibited by the players and owners the last few years is disgusting beyond words.

    Screw the NFL. There are so many other ways to entertain yourself in this world that no one actually needs this league.

  29. gorilladunk says: Feb 7, 2011 11:46 AM

    The blame for this fiasco falls on the shoulders of Godell and his minions. The NFL took control of the stadium almost a month ago, and they were responsible for the construction of the temporary seating. The fire marshall had NOTHING to do with the incident yesterday. The league decided the seats weren’t safe. Frankly, the extra seats took away from the asthetics of the stadium and the overall look from the inside. The desire of Jerry AND the NFL to have a massive crowd were the main contributors to this mess. I feel badly for those who didn’t get to see the game and I’m sure if I had been in that group, I’d be in touch with an attorney and would be seeking much more than ticket and travel costs.

  30. resqparamedic says: Feb 7, 2011 11:54 AM

    I was one of the people with ticket issues, but fortunately mine was resolved. In dealing with the issue, the story is that it isn’t the Fire Marshall’s fault at all. The crews did not have enough time to get the stands properly taken care of and were working on them until late in the night. The Fire Marshall can’t sign off on something until the work is done. Well, according to the people briefing us during the crazy ticket fiasco, the workers left late the night before the game, with the stands still not up to par, which is why the Fire Marshall pulled the plug. That is all here-say, but it is the story I was told by a few different people working at the stadium.

    The issue of the NFL repaying 3x the value of the ticket is garbage. I purchased my ticket the day before the Super Bowl, from the NFL ticket exchange for $4500 on a $900 face value ticket. They knew then that those seats were going to have issues. So where does it seem just, to sell me a ticket then offer to repay me for it at over $2000 less?

    While I was standing in line, there was a gentleman in a wheelchair, who was having ticket issues as well. He purchased a wheelchair spot. Well, when he showed up to it, Jerry’s wonderful ad-hoc bleachers were built over his spot. He was told by the people at the ticket window, and I was there to watch, that he was out of luck and to go hang out in the fan pavilion.

    Now, having stands not being completed in time is one thing. But, having them build over the man’s seating space, that he paid for is another. Those ad-hoc bleachers just don’t pop up over night without planning. They new well in advance that they were putting those bleachers there, but the NFL still sold the tickets to this wheelchair bound gentleman.

    With stories like that of the man in the wheelchair, I tend to think the issue tends to circle more around the desire to make a buck and pack the house, than it does about the game being for the fans.

    All of that doesn’t even get into the fact that virtually NO tailgating was allowed near the stadium. Rather they forced you into the stadium to pay the powers to be for food and drink. So much for the tailgating aspect of football. And with regard to going into the stadium, that was a mess as well. Gates were supposed to open at noon, so people lined up at about 11:30. Well, gates didn’t open until almost 1:30 and the doors to the actual stadium and hour, or so after that.

    All in all, it was the poorest run football game I have ever been to and in total, it was a down-right mess. Other than the good on-field competition and the Packers winning, the Super Bowl was pretty much one big hassle and disappointment. Based on this experience, I doubt I will ever go to another Super Bowl. It’s time the NFL wake up and quit skewing everything to earn a buck.

  31. olcap says: Feb 7, 2011 12:08 PM

    @gorilladunk

    Hey, I’m with you all the way, but do you seriously think a common NFL fan would succeed in a lawsuit against Roggy, the Senator’s sonny boy who now is the NFL Commisioner?

  32. Deb says: Feb 7, 2011 12:16 PM

    A full refund for every dime they paid out might compensate Steelers fans but how could that ever compensate Packers fans who missed the opportunity to see their team win its first championship in 15 years????

    As usual, Jones overhyped and overpromised. But the Super Bowl is the commissioner’s responsibility. The one thing we’ll never do is compromise safety. Who is he kidding? If the fire marshall doesn’t sign off, by law they can’t open those seats. He had no choice in the matter. He compromises safety every day he argues for an 18-game regular season.

    Goodell = EPIC FAIL

  33. pspring63 says: Feb 7, 2011 12:39 PM

    I hope those people who received hush money tickets to SB XLVI are Browns fans because Colt, Mario, Peyton and the elite receiving corps that comprises their aerial attack will be playing in Indy next year… if there is an NFL 2011-2012 season.

  34. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Feb 7, 2011 12:44 PM

    Just wait until Indianapolis. Just keep the thing in Miami, N.O, Phoenix, LA, San Diego, and MAYBE Tampa. Let the big boys handle the superbowls from here on in.

  35. Akula says: Feb 7, 2011 12:44 PM

    I’d have more respect for these guys if they just stuck a gun in people’s face and took their money.

    1. Selling tickets to watch a game outdoors on a screen.

    2. Selling tickets to seats that don’t exist. While at the same time I’m sure giving free tickets to billionairs in luxury boxes.

    3. What I’m sure were out of this world food and beer prices.

    But don’t forget people….its all about the fans!!!

  36. gorilladunk says: Feb 7, 2011 12:57 PM

    @olcap….If you sell a reserved seat to an event like this and the seat is not available when the even happens, you have a VERY GOOD chance to receive compensation for your loss. I think the league is doing everything they can to quell this mess because they realize their liability is tremendous. Any first year law student could take care of this and probably receive decent compensation for his or her client. A really good attorney? The numbers might reach the $50,000 range.

  37. resqparamedic says: Feb 7, 2011 1:25 PM

    Akula,

    The only drink prices I recall were that bottles of Miller Lite were $10, cups of beer $11 and Margaritas were $19.

    Oh, and sushi was $25 for about 5 pieces. Not that I had any, but I saw some people eating it in the stands and after laughing at them a bit for eating sushi at a football game (hey, I’m a dog’s and beer, cheese-head wearing fan) I checked on the price and it was $25.

    For all the hype and regardless of the mess at the game, I wasn’t all that impressed with JJ stadium. Every one has their preference, but I think the Georgia Dome is much better as far as indoor football on fake grass goes.

  38. larryfinfan says: Feb 7, 2011 1:55 PM

    I’m glad they didn’t compromise anyone’s safety, but….

    Isn’t this a Jerrah Jones issue ?? This isn’t an NFL issue or at least it’s an issue that the NFL should be coming down hard on JJ for….

    I can understand the problem these people faced…afterall, it’s not just about tickets, it’s about the whole experience…The Packers or Steelers may not make it back to the SB in the near future and if you were one of the 400 (Pack or Steelers) you feel cheated for your whole experience…The NFL can’t do anything about that now, except take some disciplinary action against JJ for the fraud he’s committed to those individuals…or they will do the same to him in a court of law…

  39. klm1974 says: Feb 7, 2011 2:08 PM

    I was at the game and from the time we stepped into line, to the moment we sat down, all I could think was gluttony, greed, and that the Super Bowl has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE FANS! For those hard working people who probably mortgaged their homes for the this once in a lifetime chance, I hope you get everything you deserve back since your seats were non-existent! And I mean travel expenses, ticket prices, and maybe a little for mental anguish! For the morons in the NFL who caused this, you better get your heads outta your asses! If you care so much about the fans, fix the CBA. YOU ARE BILLIONAIRES FIGHTING WITH MILLIONAIRES! You know most of us hard-working people have a real hard time sympathizing with you! Sock of all the greed!

  40. klm1974 says: Feb 7, 2011 2:28 PM

    I was at the game and from the time we stepped into line, to the moment we sat down, all I could think was gluttony, greed, and that the Super Bowl has NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH THE FANS! For those hard working people who probably mortgaged their homes for the this once in a lifetime chance, I hope you get everything you deserve back since your seats were non-existent! And I mean travel expenses, ticket prices, and maybe a little for mental anguish! For the morons in the NFL who caused this, you better get your heads outta your asses! If you care so much about the fans, fix the CBA. YOU ARE BILLIONAIRES FIGHTING WITH MILLIONAIRES! You know most of us hard-working people have a real hard time sympathizing with you! Sick of all the greed!

  41. wallyhorse says: Feb 7, 2011 6:14 PM

    Again:

    Some people don’t get the fact that it normally does NOT get anywhere near as cold as it did this past week in Dallas. The normal high is 57 degrees, with temperatures running a good 20-40 degrees BELOW normal for much of the week, and it was like that in the entire region, not just Dallas. New Orleans would have had many of the same problems if the Super Bowl had been there this week.

    What the NFL should do is give everyone affected an all-expense paid trip to next year’s game (or 2013 if there is no game next year) AND an additional such trip the next time the Packers or Steelers get to the game (and if it happens that next year is when they make it again, then that and one additional Super Bowl). The NFL could get sponsors to pick up the tab and gain more goodwill out if it than whatever it would cost.

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