News Scoop: 49ers And Stadium Authority Sued for Ticket Policy
By Robert Haugh
The 49ers legal department is a busy one lately. They’re either suing the City of Santa Clara for making noise about taking management of the stadium away from them. Or they’re suing a former player, Aldon Smith, for not paying back his bonus money. (More on that case later.)
Now, they have to deal with a class-action lawsuit themselves.
On Jan. 30, a class action lawsuit was filed by Mr. Ticket, Inc., in San Francisco Superior Court against the team for limiting the printing of tickets before games to a 72-hour window. The suit also drags in the Stadium Authority. That must make the City Council happy.
Mr. Ticket is a ticket brokering company based in San Francisco. The company says that it’s been selling 49ers tickets for years, but for the 2015/16 season, the team set up the 72-hour print window which they claim hurts the company’s ability to sell tickets. Or it forces Mr. Ticket and other brokers or fans to use Ticketmaster, whose users are allowed to transfer tickets more than 72 hours before the game. Ticketmaster is a lot more expensive than many ticket brokers, like Mr. Ticket or StubHub.
The complaint alleges “breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud, intentional interference with contractual relations, intention interference with prospective economic advantage, and engaging in unfair competition in the sale of season tickets” to 49ers games.
The lawsuit is similar to one filed in federal court last year that was dropped in January. None of the attorneys involved would speak publicly about it, suggesting a settlement was reached.
The City Council is discussing this in closed session on Tuesday. We wonder:
- Can the Stadium Authority be sued when they didn’t set up the policy?
- If they do have some legal responsibility, can the Stadium Authority then change the policy?
- If the 49ers set this up to gouge more money out of fans by getting a cut of the Ticketmaster revenue, as Mr. Ticket argues, isn’t the city entitled to some of the extra money?
- Will new city attorney Brian Doyle proofread the 49ers briefs since there might be an embarrassing typo in it, as there was in their lawsuit against Aldon Smith:
The lawsuit asks for a jury trial. If we were the team, we’d avoid that at all cost given the bad feelings the team has created among fans and non-fans in the Bay Area. They’ve been getting pile driven enough as it is.
The Case No. is CGC-17-556740.
We will continue to monitor this as more develops.