Too many tickets and not enough seats caused 400 football fans, many of whom traveled to Dallas from around the country, to miss out on attending the Super Bowl yesterday, February 6.
A total of 1,250 temporary seats reportedly were not installed and inspected by fire marshals in time to be used at Cowboys Stadium, rendering the tickets to those seats essentially void. The NFL said it regretted the situation and found alternative seating for 850 of those fans, but 400 were shut out and forced to watch the game on television screens.
Those 400 fans were given refunds of three-times the ticket’s face value — face values for the tickets ranged from $600 to $1,200 — but the fans were understandably upset over the mix up. See the video below.
For fans who bought their tickets on the secondary market, for amounts in excess of $2,500 per ticket, the NFL’s offer of three-times face value might not have covered the price they paid for the ticket, much less airfare and hotel accommodations. In addition to hundreds of ticket brokers from around the country who resold tickets, the NFL through its Ticketmaster-powered TicketExchange entity also offered resold tickets.
Glen Long, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who flew to Dallas from Baltimore told the Associated Press that he basically felt cheated by the league for overselling tickets to the game. “This is absolutely ridiculous. 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.”
Adding to Long’s disappointment, of course, was the fact that the Steelers ended up losing the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers, 31-25.
At a press conference today, February 7, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to the displaced fans and said that in addition to the refunds they will also receive tickets to next year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who also owns the stadium, and league officials had hoped to break the Super Bowl attendance record of 103,985, but reportedly fell short by a little over 700 people. The record is from the 1980 Super Bowl held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Jones reportedly had a total of about 15,000 temporary seats installed at the Cowboys Stadium for the game.
“A complete mess by the NFL,” said one ticket broker, who did not have a customer among the 400. “Bad [public relations] and a disastrous cap to a disastrous week for Dallas.”
During the weeks leading up to Sunday’s game, unseasonably cold temperatures and ice storms put a crimp in many Super Bowl activities and caused some flights to Dallas to be delayed.
Though the circumstances were different, last month StubHub was forced to give exorbitant refunds to customers who bought tickets to the BCS National Championship Game because the game was oversold. StubHub, which was the official resale marketplace for the BCS Championship, bought back tickets from some fans that they used to fill orders for others.