It’s free Super Bowl tickets for the 400 fans who didn’t get a seat at Super Bowl XLV. In addition to a triple refund for their 2011 Super Bowl tickets, those 400 fans are now going to be invited back to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. This is an effort by the league to try to make up for some of the experiences that a group of fans experienced when they tried to go to the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium but found that their seats weren’t ready.
According to ESPN, commissioner Roger Goodell stated on Monday that the 400 people without seats will be guests of the NFL at Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. This is in addition to the triple face value refund of their Dallas Super Bowl tickets ($2,400), free merchandise at the game, unlimited free food and beverages during the game and a trip to the field after the Super Bowl had been completed. It’s a lot to give these fans, most of whom were able to enjoy the Super Bowl anyways, even if some of them did have to stand through a lot of it.
The problem came at about two hours before game time, when 1,250 fans had to be relocated from a section of the stadium that was closed off. The fire marshal ruled a newly installed area of seating was unsafe and that they were going to have to close it down during the Super Bowl. This meant Super Bowl officials had to scramble to find new seating for those 1,250 fans with only moments to spare.
The NFL was able to find alternative seating for 850 of those fans, but a group of 400 was still without a seat for the game. The fans were still allowed in the game, but they had to watch the game on monitors behind the Pittsburgh Steelers bench or go to one of the standing-room platforms at each corner of the stadium. This was in addition to the large gift package that all 400 fans have been given.
There are two big takeaways in this unfortunate incident, the combination of which should allow everyone, including those 400 fans, to simply move on. This was a mistake on the part of the NFL, and it should be held accountable for the mistake in the seating. By offering that triple refund, by giving the fans a place at the Super Bowl and all of the food and merchandise, and then by topping it all off with a free ticket to the 2012 Super Bowl, the NFL has done its part to rectify the situation.
The fans who found themselves without a seat at the 2011 Super Bowl have the right to be frustrated, but it wasn’t an intentional gaffe by the league, and it has bent over backward to make it right. Now it’s time for everyone to move on, and for those 400 fans to enjoy the memories they have from 201, and prepare to make more memories at the 2012 big game.