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SBD/February 9, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NFL Allows Displaced XLV Fans To Attend Future Super Bowl Of Their Choice
Published February 9, 2011
WORKERS RAN OUT OF TIME: Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson yesterday said that inspectors "found numerous safety problems during the monthlong project to construct temporary seats at Cowboys Stadium before things took a bizarre turn and the contractor walked off the job just hours before Sunday's Super Bowl." In Ft. Worth, Susan Schrock reports the issues included "removing seats that made pathways in and out of the stands too narrow and questions about the stands' structural integrity." Crowson: "Problems were found. They were told to correct them." Workers with N.Y.-based Seating Solutions "walked off the job ... just hours before kickoff," leaving "approximately 1,200 temporary seats in the west end zone and the north and south main concourses unsafe for fans." Crowson: "I witnessed it. A guy came up to me and said, 'We are done. We can't do any more. We're out of here.' I called the NFL and told them." Seating Solutions VP Scott Suprina Monday said that "snow and ice prevented workers from getting to the stadium for two days and that they ran out of time to get the seats done." Suprina: "It was just too much to overcome at the end of the project. And this was a daunting project. I don't think there's been another Super Bowl where they've added half this many seats." Crowson noted that the Cowboys' contractor, Manhattan Construction, "stepped in Saturday and Sunday to try to finish the project, but time ran out." Meanwhile, Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck is "confident that neither the ice storm nor the seating debacle will hurt North Texas' chance of landing a future Super Bowl." Cluck: "I don't feel like our reputation is tarnished. I don't think this is going to impede our success with other bowls. We were awarded this event because of our stadium. Sure we'll have some things to correct -- we'll do that" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 2/9).
CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS: Suprina said that Seating Solutions "lost four days' worth of access to the stadium because of snow, ice and cold weather." Suprina: "There were many things that went wrong. I accept some responsibility." But Suprina said that he "did not abandon the job well before the Super Bowl began, despite earlier reports" from Cluck and Manhattan Construction. In Dallas, Tom Benning notes WFAA-ABC reported that Arlington city records "show there may have been concerns with the temporary seating setup as early as three weeks ago." Those revelations "have only further upset fans who were affected," and "at least two law firms have publicly announced they are signing up clients who encountered trouble with Super Bowl XLV tickets" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/9).
TOO MANY THINGS WENT WRONG: ESPN's John Clayton noted the NFL is looking into the seating situation because "too many things went wrong on game day." In addition to the 400 fans left without seats, there were four entrances to Cowboys Stadium "that were closed," resulting in "two to three hours of wait to get in." Clayton: "If this were any other city, any other stadium, there probably never would be a Super Bowl that would come back there. But the fact that this is such a great venue for a game, a great stage and you have a great host like Jerry Jones, they'll get another chance" ("NFL Live," ESPN, 2/8). ESPN's Jim Rome called the week in North Texas a "disaster." Rome: "The city was not prepared for the elements and the necessary infrastructure was not in place. In short, it was one of the worst Super Bowl efforts I've seen in quite some time. I put it right up there with Jacksonville" ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 2/8).
TAKE IT TO THE COURTS: BLOOMBERG NEWS' Thomas Korosec reports the NFL, the Cowboys and Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones yesterday "were sued by season-ticket holders who say they were promised prime Super Bowl seats and were instead given folding chairs with obstructed views." According to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas, Mike Dolabi said that he "paid at least $100,000 for seat licenses at Cowboys Stadium" and was "promised seats at Super Bowl XLV with 'the best sightlines in the stadium.'" On game day, the fans "found their seats were 'temporary metal fold-out chairs' installed in an attempt to break a Super Bowl attendance record, according to the complaint" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 2/9). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Kevin Armstrong notes L.A.-based Eagan Avenatti, LLP has "launched an investigation into claims that the Cowboys deceived season ticket holders into buying $1,200 seats with obstructed views." Attorney Michael Avenatti: "We will get to the bottom of this. And when we do, I expect we will find that greed and ego had a lot to do with what happened" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9). Avenatti added, "We think that this is a pretty straightforward matter. People did not obtain what they were told they were going to get" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/9).