Citing a New Jersey law that prohibits those staging ticketed events from withholding more than 5 percent of the total number of tickets available for sale at a venue, Josh Finkelman, a football fan from New Brunswick, N.J., along with his lawyer, Bruce Nagel, filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL Dec. 30. The suit states just 1 percent of the total tickets for sale at Met Life Stadium were allowed to be sold at face value to the general public through an NFL-run ticket lottery.
The remainder of the tickets, the suit alleges, have been withheld by the league or given to the league's franchises. From there, the suit alleges, the teams enter into ticket distribution deals with third-party vendors who jack up the price many times the face value.
Finkelman said he shelled out $4,000 to a ticket reseller in order to attend the Super Bowl.
"Read the provisions [of the New Jersey statute], they are clear as day," Nagel told the (Newark) Star-Ledger. "The NFL just blew it. They just didn't get the fact that there's law in New Jersey that prohibits what they are doing."
Specifically, the law says: "It shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets' release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5 percent of all available seating for the event."
Or, as Finkelman and Nagel contend, the NFL should have been required to make at least 95 percent of the seats for the game available to Average Joe football fans at face value.
An NFL spokesman told the newspaper the league was reviewing the suit and would "respond accordingly."
The league said Super Bowl ticket distribution is as follows: The two teams that make the Super Bowl share 35 percent of the tickets; the host teams, this year the Giants and Jets, share 6.2 percent of the tickets; the remaining 28 teams share more than 33 percent of the tickets; and the NFL retains 25 percent of them.