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Fan allowed to sue NFL over Super Bowl ticket distribution

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A federal appeals court has ruled that a football fan who spent $2,000 each for two Super Bowl tickets that each had an $800 face value can sue the National Football League.

This was the second time that Josh Finkelman, who bought his tickets in the secondary market for the 2014 Super Bowl, has had his case heard by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

In 2016, the appeals court ruled Mr. Finkelman had no standing to sue.

Mr. Finkelman then filed an amended complaint in the case. The U.S. District Court in Trenton granted the New York-based NFL and its affiliates summary judgment, dismissing the case. But this time, a three-judge appeals court panel unanimously overturned the lower court ruling and held Mr. Finkelman had standing to sue.

Both times, Mr. Finkelman contended that the NFL’s ticket distribution system, which offered only 1% of Super Bowl tickets to the public under a lottery, violated New Jersey law. Mr. Finkelman had obtained his tickets in the secondary market.

In his amended filing, Mr. Finkelman added claims about how the NFL’s secondary ticket market functions, and how the NFL’s actions raised ticket prices in the secondary market.

This was sufficient for him to have standing to file his case, said a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel, in overruling the lower court on Friday.

“Finkelman did not just allege that prices would be lower on the secondary market were it not for the NFL’s withholding,” said the ruling.