The National Football League must pay a total of nearly $76,000 to fans who were sold tickets for seats with an obstructed view during Super Bowl XLV at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, a federal jury ruled Thursday. However, the jury also found the league did not commit fraud in selling tickets that ultimately failed to correspond with their original seats.
The seven fans who filed the lawsuit in 2011 were part of a group of 1,250 ticket holders who were moved to new seats or a standing-room-only section after their original seats in a temporary staging area were deemed unsafe just hours before the game started. The NFL will pay the $76,000 in damages to the seven fans for breach of the ticket contract, according to the Associated Press.
NFL representatives said the league had adequately compensated the fans affected by the Super Bowl seating scandal, but the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, according to local CBS affiliate KTVT-TV. The fans’ attorneys accused Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of being “obsessed” with setting a new Super Bowl attendance record, to the point that they sold tickets to seats they could not realistically provide.
A federal judge ruled in 2012 that neither the Cowboys nor Jones were culpable in the seating lawsuit, according to USA Today. But Jones testified this week in proceedings against the NFL and purportedly grew testy when pressed by lawyers about whether he wanted to set an attendance record in 2011.
Ultimately, Jones admitted it was unfair that some fans who bought tickets ended up without a seat. “I regret that,” he said, according to Yahoo Sports. The final attendance figure for Super Bowl XLV was 103,219.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers filed a last-minute motion Wednesday, which alleged that NFL representatives may have coached Scott Suprina, the contractor who arranged seating at the 2011 Super Bowl, on what to say before he took the stand during the trial. Any proof of witness tampering could result in a mistrial.