Fans sue over ticket issues

Updated: February 10, 2011, 1:21 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

The NFL has offered money, tickets, merchandise and more to roughly 400 fans who had to give up their seats at the Super Bowl. It might not be enough.

Approximately 1,000 fans sued the NFL, the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones on Wednesday saying they were deceived by not getting seats or received inadequate seats. The federal lawsuit, filed in Dallas, alleges breach of contract, fraud and deceptive sales practices.

"We think that this is a pretty straightforward matter," said Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti, which is representing the fans, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "People did not obtain what they were told they were going to get."

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in actual damages for the plaintiffs -- but that number can be tripled under the state's trade law -- and unspecified punitive damages, according to Bloomberg.

Spokesmen for the Cowboys and the NFL had no comment.

About 1,250 fans were displaced after some temporary seating sections were not completed in time at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday in Arlington, Texas. Other seating was found for 850 fans, but 400 were forced to watch the game on monitors or use standing-room platforms.

The league initially said Monday those fans would get $2,400 -- three times the face value of the ticket -- and tickets to next season's Super Bowl. The fans also were allowed on the field after the game and given merchandise and food.

On Tuesday, the NFL added a second option: They can choose to attend any future Super Bowl instead of being limited to the 2012 game and receive round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations. If fans choose that option, they will not get the $2,400. They can wait until after the conference championship games each season to see whether their favorite team reaches the Super Bowl.

If fans choose the first option of next year's game plus the $2,400, the ticket is transferable, which means it can be sold on the secondary ticket market. It won't be transferable in the other option.

Some fans who were moved want compensation as well. Mike Dolabi said that when he paid for his seat license at Cowboys Stadium, he was promised "the best sightlines in the stadium" for the Super Bowl, according to Bloomberg.

Instead, some fans received "temporary metal fold-out chairs" in an attempt to break the Super Bowl attendance record, according to the complaint.

"The NFL and Jerry Jones sold something to fans they weren't able to deliver, and they knew they weren't able to deliver it," Avenatti said, according to Bloomberg.

The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 on Sunday.

The NFL said it is working with the Packers, Steelers and Cowboys to track down all of the affected fans. Contact information can be e-mailed to SBXLV@nfl.com.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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