Unless you personally know Jed York, Mark Davis or other top-level executives with the 49ers or Raiders, the chances of snaring a face-value Super Bowl 50 ticket are as likely as either local team playing in the game.
That won’t change before the Feb. 7 mega-event in Santa Clara, though one fan is taking legal action that ultimately could extend to California.
A New Jersey man asked a federal appeals court to revive his consumer protection lawsuit that aims to flag the NFL over the number of tickets sold to the public for the 2014 Super Bowl.
A lawyer for Josh Finkelman, of New Brunswick, said the league releases only about 900 tickets for the public lottery, less than 1 percent of the total. The remaining tickets go to the individual teams, corporate partners, media outlets and others.
Finkelman complained that fans like him were left to pay $2,000 or more per ticket on the secondary market. His lawyer, Bruce Nagel, argued that New Jersey law requires anyone selling tickets to an event to release 95 percent of them to the public.
The NFL, in response, said the lottery is not a public sale at all and argued that the law doesn’t apply. The lottery offers winners the chance to purchase tickets at prices that last year started at $500.
“There’s no fundamental right to go see the Super Bowl,” NFL lawyer Jonathan Pressment argued.
The judges questioned what actual harm people suffered if they missed the game because of high prices on the secondary market, and whether the NFL could be held responsible.
The NFL compared the issue to Catholic parishes that get a bounty of tickets to see the pope.
The hearing came after a district judge in New Jersey threw out Finkelman’s case. The 3rd Circuit then agreed to hear the appeal.
Finkelman is seeking class-action status to represent anyone who paid above face value for seats on the secondary market and anyone who was too frustrated by the long odds to enter the lottery.
Finkelman, for his $2,000 ticket, sat in the nosebleed seats. The Seattle Seahawks went on to crush Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 43-8.