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.