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NFL sued in class action for withholding Super Bowl tickets

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 8, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A class action lawsuit has been filed against the National Football League after a New Brunswick, N.J., man claimed the NFL violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act in selling Super Bowl tickets.

Every year the NFL prints "tens of thousands of Super Bowl tickets, yet it only allocates a meager one percent of these tickets for release to the general public through a lottery system, forcing all other fans into a secondary market for the tickets where they must pay substantially more than the ticket's face value to attend one of the most popular and iconic sporting events of the year," according to a complaint filed Jan. 6 in the U.S. District Court District of New Jersey.

Josh Finkelman, on behalf of himself and the putative class, said the profits from these secondary market sales are returned to the NFL and its franchisees in lucrative contracts with secondary ticket buyers who must purchase large blocks of tickets to regular season games of a franchise team in order to secure a small allotment of Super Bowl tickets.

Finkelman said the secondary market buyer then enhances their profitability by packaging their tickets into expensive deals requiring the interested fan to purchase extras, such as multi-night minimum stay hotel rooms, pre-game parties and limousine services.

One package for the upcoming game sells at $18,989 per person, excluding airfare, according to the suit.

Finkelman said the practice of withholding all but one percent of its tickets to the general public constitutes a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

On Dec. 30, Finkelman purchased two tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII for $2,000 per ticket, which was far in excess of the face value of the tickets, according to the suit.

Finkelman said the NFL already has tax-exempt status and its acts and omissions allow it to gain millions of dollars in profits that it otherwise would not have gained.

Finkelman is seeking judgment against the NFL on his own behalf and that of others similarly situated for disgorgement of the monies by which the defendant was unjustly enriched, compensatory damages with interest and punitive damages. He is being represented by Bruce H. Nagel and Diane E. Sammons of Nagel Rice LLP.

Marcus Rayner, the executive director of the New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance, said the case is an example of how the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is not protecting consumers from fraud.

"In this case, the consumer fraud act is not there to protect the consumer from fraud, but more from something that is bothersome," Rayner said.

Rayner said another example somewhat similar to this case was last year's Subway sandwich case where two New Jersey men sued Subway, claiming the fast food chain has been shorting them by selling footlongs that were less than 12 inches.

That lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey last January, was transferred to the Eastern District of Wisconsin by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

The Eastern District of Wisconsin "provides a geographically central forum for this nationwide litigation, and will be convenient and accessible for the parties and witnesses," the transfer order states.

From Legal Newsline: Kyla Asbury can be reached at

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