SBD/February 8, 2011/Events and Attractions

Super Bowl Ticket Holders Without Seats Voice Displeasure, Consider Legal Action

Some Super Bowl XLV fans spent hours in line to get into game
Several people who were part of the 400 ticket holders at Super Bowl XLV left without a seat are speaking out, with Packers fan Nick Sorensen calling the Super Bowl the "most disorganized public event I’ve ever been to,” according to Paul Srubas of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. Sorensen and his group waited “nearly 2.5 hours to clear security.” Sorensen: “Then they told us our tickets were bad and that we had to go out again. We were actually escorted out by police after they told us our tickets were not good.” Sorensen’s group was “made to wait in a tent while staff tried to figure out what to do with them.” Eventually they were “told they could go back in,” but then were “turned away again.” They were “brought down by freight elevator to a club suite that was below ground and behind the Steelers bench and the media crews.” Meanwhile, Sorensen is “nervous" about receiving the $2,400 refund from the NFL, as he must "mail his ticket to the NFL” (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 2/8). Sandee McKinnon said she and her husband, who were among the 400 displaced fans, “missed the whole first quarter and part of the second.” McKinnon: “After an hour, to an hour and a half in line, they told us to go back to our seats. They said an NFL rep would meet us. But nobody was there. We never did see an NFL rep.” Packers fan Andrew Mankiewicz and his aunt were “given seats, but only after four hours of walking to different parts of the stadium to resolve the issue.” He was “told midway though the fourth quarter that he would get a refund of the $800 face value of the tickets.” But he said that that “won’t cover his costs” as he spent “nearly $2,000 each” on the tickets. In Milwaukee, Sharif Durhams notes fans who were displaced “got one other treat: They were allowed on the field after the presentation of the Super Bowl trophy and into the area near the locker rooms after that” (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 2/8).

AIRING THEIR DISPLEASURE: A Packers fan named Ryan who was one of the 400 said officials “trapped us like caged animals for five hours outside and said, ‘Hey, we don’t know what’s going on. We don’t know if you’re going to get in.’” The fan said, “I was absolutely irate … If you want to see 400 NFL fans go absolutely crazy, you should have been in that area yesterday.” He said he felt the $2,400 refund “is kind of the NFL’s way of sweeping us under the rug a little bit,” but admitted winning the game “makes it a little easier to take” (“The Jim Rome Show,” 2/7). Displaced Steelers fan Andrew Vasey said, “I likened it to the scene in ‘Animal House’ where the fraternity guys were taking the pledges, the rejects they didn’t want, to that one little room away from the party.” Vasey said that he “missed most of the first half” and watched the second half “from a standing-room-only platform on the upper level near the spotlights at the top” of Cowboys Stadium. Block Communications Chair Allan Block and his guests “first were taken to a lounge where they could watch the game on television but could not see the field.” When his guest “protested, an usher took them to a handicapped seating area and placed folding chairs there.” Block said that what was “particularly unsettling” was that they “spent the game worrying that someone would arrive to tell them they were not allowed to be sitting there.” Block: “The NFL pretends they took care of people, but they didn’t” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/8). Displaced fan Bruce Ibe said, “A lot of people were talking about a class-action lawsuit against Jerry Jones and the NFL. ... I think everyone who was involved should be fully compensated for everything, including their airfare, lodging and food” (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/8).

MORE LIKELY TO COME: Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said similar stories are "going to continue to come out from fans as nobody was really able to talk to them for the most part. ... They were kind of kept away even from the media after they were displaced from their seats" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 2/7).
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