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NFL Sued Over Super Bowl Ticket-Withholding Practices

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

A New Jersey football fan is suing the NFL for making Super Bowl tickets so hard to get that average fans are effectively "priced out" of attending the game.

Josh Finkelman, 28, of New Brunswick, purchased two tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII for $4,000. His lawsuit asserts that the NFL's withholding of tickets from the general public, which allegedly causes ticket prices on the secondary market to skyrocket, violates New Jersey's consumer protection laws, reports Reuters.

So are the NFL's practices regarding Super Bowl tickets actually illegal?

Withholding of Tickets at Issue

Filed on Monday, Finkelman's suit characterizes the National Football League as only allowing 1 percent of the tens of thousands of Super Bowl tickets to be purchased by the public, reports Reuters.

This system is part of the annual Super Bowl lottery, in which tens of thousands of fans will compete for a mere 1,000 tickets -- priced this year at $500 a pop. And according to The Star-Ledger, these lottery winners won't be able to scalp their tickets because they will be non-transferable.

New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act law, however, makes it illegal for a "person" to withhold selling more than 5 percent of "available seating" tickets to the general public for any event.

Since MetLife stadium can hold over 82,000 people, Finkelman argues that the NFL is in violation of the state law by only allowing 1.2 percent of tickets to be available to the general public.

Secondary Prices 'Unfair'

In addition to this violation of New Jersey law, Finkelman believes that the NFL's lottery system incentivizes scalpers to sell Super Bowl tickets for several times their purchase price.

Instead of reserving the lion's share of tickets for sponsors and season ticket holders, Finkelman believes regular fans "should be able to go at a fair price," reports the New York Daily News.

Finkelman isn't unjustifiably frustrated. Every Super Bowl season sees a very small amount of publically available tickets, leaving most Americans at the mercy of counterfeit tickets and predatory scalpers.

It remains to be seen whether Finkelman's class action suit will be successful in changing the NFL's ticket-withholding practices and tackling the issue of high ticket prices. Regardless, the lawsuit likely won't be resolved by Super Bowl Sunday, which this year falls on February 2.

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