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Old 04-28-2014, 01:49 PM   #1
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Default 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

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RENO, Nev. -- John E. Williams III has been a San Francisco 49ers fan since John Brodie was throwing touchdown passes at Candlestick Park in the 1970s. So he was excited about the prospects of scoring a ticket to make the trip to Seattle in January to watch the rivals battle in the NFC Championship Game.

But the Las Vegas man says in a $50 million lawsuit against the NFL that his hopes were dashed by the league and others he accuses of engaging in "economic discrimination" with an illegal ticket policy limiting credit-card sales to selected pro-Seattle markets. His lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas says it was part of an effort to keep 49ers fans away and further promote the Seattle Seahawks' boisterous home-field advantage at CenturyLink Field.

"They're always boasting up there about their 12th player and everything else," Williams told The Associated Press on Friday. "But by allowing the NFL to decide who can or cannot attend the games, you make it an unfair game. Seattle fixed it."

Williams, who works as a promoter in the entertainment industry, said that because the NFL relies heavily on public subsidies and money from taxpayers to build stadiums it should not be allowed to deny ticket sales to individuals on the basis they are "not from an area determined by the team -- or the NFL -- to be fan of that team."

"The practice of withholding the sale of tickets from the public at large and allowing only credit card holders limited to certain areas is a violation of the Federal Consumer Fraud Act and/or common law," according to the lawsuit filed April 15.

In the case of January's game, the Seahawks limited ticket sales only to credit cards with addresses in the states of Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

As a result, he said, he suffered "economic discrimination and violation of public accommodation solely" because his credit card was not issued in the restrictive states or Canada -- "which is not even part of the United States."

"This selected process is contrary to the spirit of the NFL and contrary to public accommodation," said Williams, who is seeking $10 million in punitive damages on top of $40 million in real damages.

Brian McCarthy, the NFL's vice president of communications, said the league has no comment on the lawsuit.

Officials for California-based Ticketmaster, which is now part of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., and the Seahawks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Williams said he had made up his mind that if San Francisco beat the Carolina Panthers in a semifinal game, he was going to buy tickets to the NFC title game in Seattle for himself, his roommate, a girlfriend who lives in Canada and her daughter.

San Francisco beat Carolina 23-10, then lost at Seattle 23-17.

"I live in Las Vegas, but I'm originally from San Francisco. I've seen John Brodie back in the day, and Joe Montana. I really wanted to go up there to see the Niners," Williams said. "I think the tickets should be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, not based on who they want in the crowd."
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10...layoff-tickets

I thought it was going to be a whiny fan suit but this one has an interesting issue. And it's one that addresses a policy which could hurt me as a non-Burgh native.
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #2
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

I think he's got a case. Not sure how teams get away with restricting access to tickets.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

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I think he's got a case. Not sure how teams get away with restricting access to tickets.
To prevent out of market scalping.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

This guy is an idiot.

Only 3000 tickets were available for sale and they sold out in less than 15 minutes (season ticket holders held all others).

He c/should have done like everyone else and bought via stubhub or nfl ticket exchange.com.

There were tons of SF fans at the game and they even out roared the '12th man' for parts of the game.
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Old 04-28-2014, 03:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

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This guy is an idiot.

Only 3000 tickets were available for sale and they sold out in less than 15 minutes (season ticket holders held all others).

He c/should have done like everyone else and bought via stubhub or nfl ticket exchange.com.

There were tons of SF fans at the game and they even out roared the '12th man' for parts of the game.
Are you a Steelers fan?

If so, how do you support a policy designed to stop us from travelling as well as we do. Remember the rum up to XL? We had so many Terrible Towels at every playoff game I wept. I was at the Indy game. It was amazing how many fans we had there.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

The same rule barred anyone outside of the west coast to buy tickets for the Broncos - Steelers playoff game back in '11.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

The Chargers starting doing this a few years ago, in an attempt to create a "home field advantage."

You could not buy single-game tickets to Steelers games; you have to buy their "mini season-ticket" package of four games. Most of us just bought the four tickets, and sold the three others on Stub Hub.

Since that time, they have kept this policy in place for certain teams: the Raidahs, Chiefs, & Broncos (which I get) and the Steelers.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

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Are you a Steelers fan?

If so, how do you support a policy designed to stop us from travelling as well as we do. Remember the rum up to XL? We had so many Terrible Towels at every playoff game I wept. I was at the Indy game. It was amazing how many fans we had there.
The NFL's policy does not prohibit out of market fans from purchasing tickets.

It prohibits out of market fans from purchasing tickets at face value.

In the instance of the person suing, he's upset that he couldn't buy tickets from Ticketmaster at face value. I myself tried getting some (as I have a WA ZIP) and couldn't get any. Thousands of people in the Pac NW couldn't get any [at face value]. Those tickets sold out in minutes (since they were so limited).

The litigator is not a special case. There aren't enough tickets to go around, which is why the NFL gives the home fanbase 'first come/first serve' access (in the same way that season ticket-holders do).

There's nothing stopping out of market fans from going to out of market games; they just have to buy via a third party (StubHub or NFL Ticket Exchange).

That's how I, and many others, got my NFCCG tix.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

Also, this guy is a 49ers fans complaining... where was his complaint when the 49ers did the exact same thing when they hosted the NFCCG two years ago???

The policy makes sense since the largest and most likely source of fans who will attend the game are people from the home team's area (besides, with ridiculous stadium construction formats, it's the home tax payers paying for most of the cost of stadiums; why shouldn't they get 'discounted' tickets for these types of events then?).

It's a rare chance that a team gets to host a conference title game and home fans should get first crack at attending before out of market fans.
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: 49er fan sues NFL over playoff tickets

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Also, this guy is a 49ers fans complaining... where was his complaint when the 49ers did the exact same thing when they hosted the NFCCG two years ago???

The policy makes sense since the largest and most likely source of fans who will attend the game are people from the home team's area (besides, with ridiculous stadium construction formats, it's the home tax payers paying for most of the cost of stadiums; why shouldn't they get 'discounted' tickets for these types of events then?).

It's a rare chance that a team gets to host a conference title game and home fans should get first crack at attending before out of market fans.
Why?
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