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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

The NFL/Jones pooch screwed this one


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Failure to complete temporary seating leaves some ticket holders out in the cold


The NFL has distributed in the press box at Cowboys Stadium a statement that will keep some fans who have tickets from actually getting in to tonight’s game.


“There are a limited number of sections in temporary seating areas inside the stadium that have not been fully completed,” the statement reads. “We are working to resolve the matter and expect that by game time most of the fans affected will have been accommodated in their seats or relocated to similar or better seats.


“Those fans that are affected by this will be directed to the Party Plaza area while the matter is resolved.


“Fans who are not accommodated with seats inside the stadium will each receive a refund of triple the cost of the face value of their ticket.


“We regret the situation.”


Regret is an understatement.


Frankly, a triple-cost refund isn’t enough. The NFL also should reimburse the affected fans for all travel and lodging expenses. Regardless of how this happened, it’s inexcusable for the fans to find out upon arriving at the stadium that they’re S.O.L. At a bare minimum, the affected fans should be refunded every dime spent to make a trip they otherwise would not have made.


And how is this something that comes up now, on game day? Surely, the league knew about this before Sunday. Why not be candid about it so that the affected fans could choose either not to make the trip to Dallas or not to make the trek to the stadium.


Of course, that would have increased the numbers of folks who’d be eligible for refunds, and it would have prevented the league from getting as many folding chairs as possible crammed into the venue so that refunds of some big-dollar tickets wouldn’t be required.


It’s disappointing to see a league that gets so many things right whiff on something so fundamental as ensuring that every ticket sold will translate to a corresponding seat.

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We know many of you have a case of Super Bowl seat fiasco fatigue, but there’s one segment of unhappy fans that hasn’t had their story told much. (We won’t be offended if you now continue to the next post, free of charge.)


The NFL and Cowboys Stadium not only failed to secure seats for everyone, but they failed to get those with seats into the stadium in a timely fashion. Peter King of SI.com passes along a story from a fellow sportswriter’s wife who waited two and a half hours to get through security just to get into the stadium.


“Desperate people were going to the bathroom in empty beer cans, along the fence area, and they weren’t all men,” the account reads. “Little kids were getting pushed around. Older people were becoming woozy, complaining of pain and dropping out. . . . People started jumping the gates that everyone had to snake through as they got closer to the stadium and tempers flared.”


I heard similar accounts in Dallas, but those problems were overshadowed because of the seat issues. (And, you know, the football game.)


The San Jose Mercury News passed along a story of a ticket contest winner that gave up on watching the game in person after trying to get into the stadium for three hours.


She gave her tickets to a cab driver, so she she could go back to her hotel and watch the game in peace.

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When we last were paying attention to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News, who hates PFT (take a number) and about whom we’re frankly ambivalent, he was posting on Twitter a warning for Howard Eskin of WIP radio, who’s pinch hitting today for Dan Patrick.


“Howard Eskin is a scumbag and he’d be wise not to get near me,” Domowitch said.


Today, Domowitch has some interesting news about a little-known wrinkle in the Cowboys Stadium Clusterfudge. The manpower drain created by the temporary seating fiasco had an impact on the big-ticket tailgate party, which could do more harm to the bottom line that the class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the fans affected by the failure to get the place ready to accommodate them all.

Domowitch reports that many executives with big-money sponsors were forced to wait in line up to 2.5 hours to get into the tailgate party. And now the league is scrambling to keep those sponsors as sponsors.


“It was a disaster from the start, with no signs or people directing people to the [VIP] parking lot or the drop-off area,” a source close to the situation told Domowitch. “The seating issue became all encompassing. Anyone in an authoritative position was brought inside to help calm people who lost their seats. That took people away from outside the perimeter.


“In the past, you couldn’t miss where you were supposed to go. You’d get off a bus or out of your limo and there would be someone there to tell you, ‘Tailgate party right this way.’ This one, no one had any idea where to go. VIPs and sponsors were being funneled in [to the stadium] with regular fans.”


Per Domowitch, companies like FedEx and Castrol Motor Oil have threatened as a result of the handling of the situation to pull out as sponsors for next year’s Super Bowl.


The acrimony wasn’t confined to sponsors. Domowitch reports that Saints owner Tom Benson was “furious” with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after Benson’s granddaughter and team co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc was denied a courtesy limo ride from the airport to her hotel because Jones’ vow of such transportation for his business partners applied only to each team’s “principal” owner.


League office employees displaced by the relocated fans also weren’t happy. For example, the family of former player and current exec Merton Hanks had to give up their seats and watch the game in a tent outside the stadium. Frankly, we think that every league executive (up to and including the Commissioner) should have happily given up their seats to ensure that all of the paying customers would be able to get what they paid for. So if Hanks is upset that he was bumped, he should be upset only if others with equal or lesser spots on the NFL’s organizational chart weren’t.


In the end, the NFL fell 400 short of giving everyone with a ticket admission to the game. Nearly two weeks later, the NFL continues to fall short, in our view, when it comes to making it right.


Domowitch believes that NFL executive V.P. of business ventures and Chief Financial Officer Eric Grubman, who was made to take the public bullet via a variety of media appearances, will eventually lose his job, along with senior V.P. of events Frank Supovitz will lose their jobs. As Domowitch explains (and as we’ve previously mentioned a time or two), the guy who was deemed ultimately responsible for the Janet Jackson incident quietly left the league landed in a better job with the Browns. Though Domowitch says that John Collins currently is in witness protection, he actually has a pretty big job with the NHL. Which is pretty much the same thing as witness protection.


It remains to be seen whether Grubman and/or Supovitz will be working for the Browns or the 49ers or some other team in the not-too-distant future. We’ve got a feeling, however, that none of the folks who take the fall for the fiasco will be working for the Cowboys.


This was a total disaster of a SB.

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