The National Football League has come under fire from fans and others who feel the league should have sorted the seating arrangements out well before the Super Bowl took place at Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas on Feb. 6th.
Apparently the league knew a few days before the game that there was going to be a problem with the temporary seats placed in the Cowboys stadium. When the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off some of the seats were unusable and about 1250 fans were affected.
Most of these fans were moved to other areas of the stadium, but about 400 of them weren’t able to be relocated and had to watch the Packers 31-25 win outside on large video monitors. The league said it didn’t warn anybody because it thought the problem with the temporary seating would be resolved before game time. It appears that stairs, railings, and risers weren’t completed is six of the temporary seat sections.
About 850 fans were given other seats to watch the game from and those who couldn’t be accommodated were given refunds of three times the face value on their tickets. This means they each received U.S. $2,400 for their $800 seats. The NFL also said it gave those 400 fans free tickets to next year’s Super Bowl which will be held in Indianapolis.
League officials didn’t explain what went wrong, but they said the bad weather didn’t affect the seating arrangement. Many of the stadium’s entrances were closed down two days before the game due to ice and snow that had accumulated on the roof from a couple of storms. Six people were injured after being hit by falling ice from the roof on Feb. 4th.
Some fans said they believed the league didn’t make an announcement about the seating arrangement because it wanted to set an attendance record for the Super Bowl. However, the NFL denied this was the case. The leagues commissioner, Roger Goodell, said he will make sure that a thorough review will take place to see what went wrong as it’s ultimately the NFL’s responsibility.
The NFL said the temporary seats had to be certified by the fire and police departments of Arlington, but they didn’t feel the structures were fit to be used for fans. However, according to Tiara Richard, an Arlington police spokesperson, the fire department was never even asked to inspect the seats that weren’t completed. She said the department only inspected the finished seats and the NFL decided not to use the sections that weren’t ready.
Some fans had paid more for their tickets than the NFL gave them as a refund though and many others also had to factor in their airfare and hotel costs. It’s believed there may be a few lawsuits over the incident before it’s all done.