Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Can Sports Teams Keep Rival Fans Away? Can Sports Teams Keep Rival Fans Away?

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Tech

Can Sports Teams Keep Rival Fans Away?

One 49ers fan wants millions after he was blocked from attending a football game in Seattle.

Seahawks only; no Niners fans allowed.(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

photo of Alex Brown
April 28, 2014

When Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman crushed the Super Bowl dreams of 49ers fan John E. Williams III, Williams wasn't there to see it in person. For that, he wants $50 million.

Williams filed suit this month against the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL, and Ticketmaster; he's alleging the practice of restricting ticket sales to residents of certain states is a violation of federal law.

For January's NFC Championship game in Seattle, the Seahawks limited online ticket sales to credit card holders who lived in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, and some parts of Canada. Williams, a diehard 49ers fan and Las Vegas resident, couldn't buy himself a ticket—exactly what the Seahawks intended.

 

Seattle isn't the only team to try to protect its home-field advantage by limiting the number of tickets sold to outsiders. The Oklahoma City Thunder is currently keeping playoff tickets to a few neighboring states, leaving out the Memphis Grizzlies fans who might otherwise invade.

That, Williams says, should be illegal. His lawsuit cites both federal and state laws that ban "unfair or deceptive" business practices. The federal law referenced by Williams empowers the Federal Trade Commission to stop such practices and levy fines for violators. An FTC spokesman did not offer comment on if the agency is reviewing the case.

The U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, where the suit was filed, did not respond to calls for comment.

According to Williams, the selective sales are a form of "economic discrimination." Given the NFL's tax-exempt status and use of public funding to build many of its stadiums, the league has an obligation to give all citizens a fair chance to purchase its products, Williams said.

The Seahawks and Ticketmaster did not immediately respond to requests for comment. An NFL spokesman declined to weigh in.

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Tech Edge

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of tech coverage.

Sign up form for Tech Edge
Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus