NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against the National Football League a year after it was sued for allegedly violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act in selling Super Bowl tickets.
Judge Peter G. Sheridan issued an order granting the NFL’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs Josh Finkelman and Ben Hoch-Parker’s lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey Jan. 21.
According to the plaintiffs’ complaint, filed in the federal court Jan. 6, 2014, every year the NFL prints “tens of thousands of Super Bowl tickets, yet it only allocates a meager one percent of these tickets for release to the general public through a lottery system, forcing all other fans into a secondary market for the tickets where they must pay substantially more than the ticket’s face value to attend one of the most popular and iconic sporting events of the year.”
The plaintiffs argue the profits from these secondary market sales are returned to the NFL and its franchisees in lucrative contracts with secondary ticket buyers who must purchase large blocks of tickets to regular season games of a franchise team to secure a small allotment of Super Bowl tickets.
They contend the secondary market buyer then enhances their profitability by packaging their tickets into expensive deals requiring the interested fan to purchase extras, such as multi-night minimum stay hotel rooms, pre-game parties and limousine services.
The practice of withholding all but one percent of its tickets to the general public constitutes a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, both Finkelman and Hoch-Parker argue.
On Dec. 30, 2013, Finkelman purchased two tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII for $2,000 per ticket, which was “far in excess” of the face value of the tickets, according to the lawsuit.
Hoch-Parker considered purchasing Super Bowl tickets, but ultimately decided not to because of the cost.
Both contend the NFL already has tax-exempt status, and its acts and omissions allow it to gain millions of dollars in profits that it otherwise would not have gained.
Last month, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of Sheridan’s order. They plan to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, according to the Feb. 13 filing.
They are being represented by Bruce H. Nagel and Diane E. Sammons of Nagel Rice LLP.