Super Bowl ticket prices trigger super consumer protection lawsuit

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STATE — Josh Finkelman, of New Brunswick, filed a class action complaint in federal court in Newark charging the National Football League (NFL) with violating the New Jersey consumer fraud law by selling Super Bowl tickets at astronomical prices when the annual championship game was played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Finkelman, the 28-year-old president of a warehouse business in Dayton, purchased a pair of tickets online for $4,000 but the face value of those tickets was about $500 each.

Finkelman’s lawyer, Bruce Nagel, explained that the NFL sold Super Bowl tickets the same way as it did in other jurisdictions, year after year, distributing 75 percent of them to the league’s 32 teams, making about 25 percent for league officials, the media and important corporate sponsors, and leaving just one percent for sale to the general public.

“But now that they’re in New Jersey, they’re in trouble,” Nagel said. “The statute here is different. Josh’s suit is going to right a major wrong.”

Section 56:8-35.1 of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act reads:

“It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets’ release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5 percent of all available seating for the event.”

The the suit is filed, “on behalf of all persons who purchased tickets, who will purchase tickets or who cannot afford to purchase tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII at a ticket price that is higher than the face value of the ticket.”

Nagel said that group could include tens of thousands of affected fans, who if Finkelman is in victorious, could share in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages paid out by the NFL because the state consumer fraud act calls for three times the amount of actual financial losses suffered in cases that make a valid legal claim.

Nagel described how those damages could be calculated: “You take the difference between the face value of the ticket and what was spent in the secondary market. Then you multiply it by three under the law, and then again by however many thousands of tickets are eventually considered in the class.”

This New York Times graphic shows how the National Football League appears to be violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act by selling only one percent of Super Bowl tickets to the public, forcing fans to pay higher prices in the secondary market.

This New York Times graphic shows how the National Football League appears to be violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act by selling only one percent of Super Bowl tickets to the public, forcing fans to pay higher prices in the secondary market. (This New York Times)  Each Super Bowl team gets 17½ percent of the tickets, each of the league’s remaining 30 teams divide 33.6 percent, 25 percent are allocated directly by the NFL and the host team gets six percent. That leaves only one percent available for sale to the general public.  By comparison, New Jersey requires that no less than 95 percent of any event tickets must be sold direct to the public at face value.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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