SBD/February 11, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NFL Offers Face-Value Refund Or Free Ticket To All Affected By Seating Fiasco

Two thousands fans experienced significant delays in getting to seats
The NFL Thursday further addressed the seating fiasco at Sunday's Packers-Steelers Super Bowl XLV by offering a "face-value refund or a free ticket to a future Super Bowl" to 2,000 fans whose "seating experiences weren't super," according to Gary Mihoces of USA TODAY. The NFL said that the 2,000 fans "added to the compensation list were 'significantly delayed' in getting to their temporary seats." The league added that "about 860 ticket-holders from the temporary seats were relocated to other seats in the stadium." Mihoces notes the league "earlier offered the 400 ticketholders it said got no seats two options: a ticket to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis plus three times the face value of their Super Bowl XLV ticket ($2,400 for an $800 ticket), or a ticket to a Super Bowl of their choice plus airfare and hotel" (USA TODAY, 2/11). In Dallas, Mede Nix noted Thursday's announcement was "separate from the one offered earlier this week" to the 400 displaced fans. The NFL said that "senior staff members so far have personally contacted 260 of the 400 fans to explain their options." Meanwhile, the NFL for the first time Thursday said that there were "about 13,000 temporary seats installed at Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV." Arlington's fire marshal "inspected and cleared for use 11,740 of those seats" (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/10). In Milwaukee, Don Walker notes the announcement "came as a second lawsuit was filed in Dallas County" on behalf of two Packers fans, who allege that they were "sold tickets to seats that did not exist" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/11).

TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
: NFL Exec VP/Business Operations Eric Grubman Thursday appeared on the "PFT Live" podcast and said there are "two levels of responsibility" for the fiasco. Grubman: "The way we look at it is, we're the National Football League, we're presenting the game, these are our fans, and a lot of them are heartbroken and they're mad. We accept the responsibility for that, and we've got to figure out how to get them to give us a second chance." He added, "When it comes down to figuring out how to make sure this never happens again, we'll be looking at our internal processes, and how we work with contractors, and how we work with host clubs and so forth and so on. ... This is a tough situation, a lot of people probably could have done things better or differently" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 2/10). Grubman on ESPN Radio 970 Pittsburgh added, "We screwed it up. I can't change that. I'm a football fan and before I worked at the Super Bowl I took my young sons and my father ... to see the New York Giants and if that would have happened to me, I would be furious" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 2/10). Grubman said the seating issue was a "mistake of monumental portions." Grubman: "The facts are that we just didn't get the temporary seating finished in time." Meanwhile, Grubman said the only condition on the two offers to the 400 displaced fans is that they "accept the offer and that they agree that that's it." Grubman: "In other words, we don't want a fan accepting the offer to be part of some sort of litigation" ("The Call," CNBC, 2/10).
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