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.
National Journal
April 28, 2014, 10:59 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
CALLS CONGRESS "VERY PARTISAN"
Trump Opposes White House Aides Giving Congressional Testimony
17 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump on Tuesday said he is opposed to current and former White House aides providing testimony to congressional panels in the wake of the special counsel report, intensifying a power struggle between his administration and House Democrats. In an interview with The Washington Post, Trump said that complying with congressional requests was unnecessary after the White House cooperated with special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference and the president’s own conduct in office."

Source:
WANTS IT BY MAY 1
Nadler Subpoenas Unredacted Report
5 days ago
THE LATEST
ONLY TWO ARE KNOWN
Mueller Made 14 Criminal Referrals
6 days ago
THE LATEST
POSTED ONLINE
The Report Is Here
6 days ago
THE LATEST
BARR IS OK WITH MUELLER TESTIFYING
Nadler Asks Mueller to Testify By May 23
6 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login