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NFL easily defends against Super Bowl ticket scalping lawsuits

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There were probably thousands, if not tens of thousands, of football fans who were frustrated by the expense and unavailability of tickets to the 2014 Super Bowl in East Rutherford, New Jersey, but only two who apparently took the matter to court.

Unfortunately, for them, their legal effort was unsuccessful. Josh Finkelman paid $2,000 each for four tickets that had an $800 face value, while Ben Hoch-Parker gave up his attempt to buy tickets when he saw how much they would cost, according to last week's ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

The two men filed suit against the National Football League and affiliates under New Jersey's Ticket Law, a rarely litigated, anti-scalping statute, asserting the NFL's method of selling tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII violated the law and unjustly enriched the league.

Their efforts gained little yardage. Mr. Hoch-Parker did not have standing to sue because he never actually purchased a ticket. He therefore had not suffered the requisite injury required to successfully file suit, said last week's ruling, which upheld a ruling by the U.S. District Court in Trenton, New Jersey.

As for Mr. Finkelman, the ruling notes only 1% of tickets are available to the general public, and one of those can only be obtained through a League-sponsored lottery.

“The problem is that Finkelman failed to enter the lottery,” said the ruling. “In this sense, any harm that Finkelman suffered is properly attributed not to the NFL, but rather to his own decision not to enter the ticket lottery.”

In the end, in light of the Seattle Seahawks' lopsided 43-8 victory over the Broncos that year, one can't help but wonder what all the fuss was about.