Appeals Court Hears NFL Ticket-Pricing Case
Monday, November 2, 2015
Legal Intelligencer (10/08/15) D'Annunzio, P.J.
Attorney Bruce Nagel has argued before a U.S. appeals court that the National Football League's (NFL) practice of limiting publicly available Super Bowl XLVIII tickets, made possible via lottery, to only 1 percent of the nearly 80,000 total is illegal. He cited the case of plaintiff Josh Finkelman, who had to pay $4,000 to resellers for two seats, contending the fractional amount of tickets to those participating in the lottery raised resale prices. "[Finkelman] suffered a direct, ascertainable loss," Nagel told the three-judge panel. Judge Julio Fuentes countered Finkelman did not even participate in the lottery, and thus did not attempt to purchase tickets at face value. Fellow Judge D. Brooks Smith also noted the plaintiff began looking for tickets months after the end of the lottery, but Nagel said the issue was the NFL offered less than 5 percent of the game tickers to the general public, in violation of New Jersey statutes. With Fuentes reiterating that Finkelman had to demonstrate an ascertainable loss, Nagel responded "when Finkelman paid $2,000 for [each] ticket that ran $800 to $1,000 at face value he suffered a loss because the NFL limited tickets to the public." NFL legal council Jonathan D. Pressment claimed the league did not violate New Jersey's consumer protection laws, arguing although the lottery is available to the general public, once someone enrolls in it they are no longer considered part of that segment. Fuentes said such a contention could encourage ticket sellers to rig the system.
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