When we last were paying attention to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News, who hates PFT (take a number) and about whom we’re frankly ambivalent, he was posting on Twitter a warning for Howard Eskin of WIP radio, who’s pinch hitting today for Dan Patrick.
“Howard Eskin is a scumbag and he’d be wise not to get near me,” Domowitch said.
Today, Domowitch has some interesting news about a little-known wrinkle in the Cowboys Stadium Clusterfudge. The manpower drain created by the temporary seating fiasco had an impact on the big-ticket tailgate party, which could do more harm to the bottom line that the class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the fans affected by the failure to get the place ready to accommodate them all.
Domowitch reports that many executives with big-money sponsors were forced to wait in line up to 2.5 hours to get into the tailgate party. And now the league is scrambling to keep those sponsors as sponsors.
“It was a disaster from the start, with no signs or people directing people to the [VIP] parking lot or the drop-off area,” a source close to the situation told Domowitch. “The seating issue became all encompassing. Anyone in an authoritative position was brought inside to help calm people who lost their seats. That took people away from outside the perimeter.
“In the past, you couldn’t miss where you were supposed to go. You’d get off a bus or out of your limo and there would be someone there to tell you, ‘Tailgate party right this way.’ This one, no one had any idea where to go. VIPs and sponsors were being funneled in [to the stadium] with regular fans.”
Per Domowitch, companies like FedEx and Castrol Motor Oil have threatened as a result of the handling of the situation to pull out as sponsors for next year’s Super Bowl.
The acrimony wasn’t confined to sponsors. Domowitch reports that Saints owner Tom Benson was “furious” with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after Benson’s granddaughter and team co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc was denied a courtesy limo ride from the airport to her hotel because Jones’ vow of such transportation for his business partners applied only to each team’s “principal” owner.
League office employees displaced by the relocated fans also weren’t happy. For example, the family of former player and current exec Merton Hanks had to give up their seats and watch the game in a tent outside the stadium. Frankly, we think that every league executive (up to and including the Commissioner) should have happily given up their seats to ensure that all of the paying customers would be able to get what they paid for. So if Hanks is upset that he was bumped, he should be upset only if others with equal or lesser spots on the NFL’s organizational chart weren’t.
In the end, the NFL fell 400 short of giving everyone with a ticket admission to the game. Nearly two weeks later, the NFL continues to fall short, in our view, when it comes to making it right.
Domowitch believes that NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman, who was made to take the public bullet via a variety of media appearances, will eventually lose his job, along with senior V.P. of events Frank Supovitz will lose their jobs. As Domowitch explains (and as we’ve previously mentioned a time or two), the guy who was deemed ultimately responsible for the Janet Jackson incident quietly left the league landed in a better job with the Browns. Though Domowitch says that John Collins currently is in witness protection, he actually has a pretty big job with the NHL. Which is pretty much the same thing as witness protection.
It remains to be seen whether Grubman and/or Supovitz will be working for the Browns or the 49ers or some other team in the not-too-distant future. We’ve got a feeling, however, that none of the folks who take the fall for the fiasco will be working for the Cowboys.