Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sue the bastards, NFL Edition.

Bridge-gate isn’t the only interesting thing happening in New Jersey these days.

In late December, New Brunswick NJ’s own Josh Finkelman paid $4,000 for a pair of tickets to the Super Bowl, which is being held in New Jersey, at the stadium shared by the NY Giants and the NY Jets – don’t ask – on Groundhog Day.

Although I’m not a particular fan of the Super Bowl – I will probably watch some of it, and maybe even all of it, depending on which teams make it – I’m actually happy that we’re having a crappy weather, outdoor game this year. SB is traditionally played in a warm climate or roofed stadium. So a February 2nd outing in New Jersey is something to look forward to. Gotta love the old school-ness of it.

However, given my general indifference, I can’t imagine the circumstances under which I would actually attend a Super Bowl, even if someone gave me the tickets. As for paying $4K for a pair? Jeeze Louise.

Anyway, Finkelman’s not all that happy with having to pay that much for the opportunity to watch two teams – neither of which is “his”, since – I’m guessing – a Jersey guy is going to be a fan of the Giants, or the Jets, or the Eagles, or the Redskins – none of which is getting anywhere near Super Bowl this year. So, he’s:

…suing the NFL for failing to release enough Super Bowl tickets to the public, thus driving up the price. The class-action lawsuit alleges that the league violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act by dividing the tickets among itself, its 32 member teams and the two host teams, releasing just 1 percent of the tickets for sale at face value. Fans were forced to turn to scalpers and resellers, paying a huge markup for tickets that were already prohibitively expensive…. [Finkelman] seeks hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and attorneys' fees…The suit claims that the NFL actually gave most of the tickets to sponsors, partners and "other league insiders," and that the teams actively sold them to scalpers.. (Source: Bloomberg)

As I’ve said before about watching professional football, it’s like eating veal: if I thought about it, I couldn’t do it. So I’m no fan of the NFL - a bunch of greedy bastards that con cities and states into subsidizing their businesses; a bunch of heartless exploiters who looked the other way while so many of their players suffer colossal brain damage – but this lawsuit seems a tad bit frivolous. I suspect that the NFL will see things my way.

But, oh, boo hoo, Finkelman had to pay far in excess of face value. So, on behalf of the average fan, class action it is.

And, depending on your reading of New Joisey law, they may have a case:

…the pertinent subsection of the statute states, "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% of all available seating for the event."

In essence, alleges Finkelman and Nagel, the NFL was required to make 95 percent of the MetLife Super Bowl tickets available to the public — which they say does not include season-ticket-holders — at face value. (Source:

But mostly it looks like a stunt on the part of Finkelman and Nagel.

Because, seriously, folks, how can someone who’s demonstrated a willingness to pay a crazy amount on tickets turn around and complain about it. Finkelman was not, after all, forced to buy tickets. Like the rest of us, he could have stayed home and watched on his flat screen. It’s not as if this were a necessity of life – the last supply of water on earth. This is an entertainment event. And we all get that, when it comes to buying tickets, there’s supply and demand, and the law that connects them. That’s entertainment.

Thus, a few years back, when Neil Diamond was performing at Fenway Park, I thought it might be fun to get tickets to hear him sing Sweet Caroline. But when I got online, I found that the tickets were well beyond the amount that I was willing to pay to hear Neil Diamond.  My worth-it price was about $40. The tickets – through the official scalper of entertainment everywhere, Ticketmaster – were going for a lot more than that. So I stayed home.

Sometimes life is just downright disappointing.

But there are a lot of things out there that I either a) can’t afford, or b) am not willing to spend the going rate for.

Such is life.

However, if I were someone who thought along the Josh Finkelman lines, I might have sued Loehmann’s for that camel-colored designer dress I bought, oh, 40 years ago. I mean, it was a beautiful dress, and it really looked great on me. If you could get past the color. If there’s worse color for me than camel, I’m not sure what it would be. Olive drab, maybe? Canary yellow? Well, the statute of limitation on that purchase has, no doubt, been exceeded. And, besides, Loehmann’s is going out of business. Still. What were they thinking letting me buy that dress?

And there are plenty of other purchases I’ve made where I paid too darned much for too darned little.

I’ve got to start reading up on Massachusetts statutes.

Maybe there’s some bastards out there that I can sue.

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