The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled on Wednesday that the National Football League (NFL) did not violate New Jersey ticket sale laws for the 2014 Super Bowl.
New Jersey law states that “[i]t shall be an unlawful practice for a person, who has access to tickets to an event prior to the tickets’ release for sale to the general public, to withhold those tickets from sale to the general public in an amount exceeding 5% of all available seating for the event.”
For the Superbowl, the NFL released 1 percent of the tickets for sale to the general public through a lottery system. The remaining 99 percent of tickets were given to teams, broadcast networks, corporate sponsors and other individuals and entities.
The court found that the NFL did count as a “person” for the purposes of the law, and the tickets released in the lottery were considered to be “released for sale to the general public.” However, the court also found that the tickets that were not included in the lottery were not considered to be “released for sale to the general public.”
The plaintiff in the case argued that the law requires that 95 percent of the tickets to any event be made available for sale to the public. However, in order to violate the law, the Court ruled that more than 5 percent of the tickets that are designated as for sale to the public need to be restricted. Because the 99 percent of the tickets were never intended to be given to the public, their restriction does not violate the law.
The NFL has faced several lawsuits in recent years. In January 2017 cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against the NFL regarding underpaid wages and reducing market competition. In December 2016 the US Supreme Court declined to review settlements in lawsuits against the NFL over concussion injuries suffered by its players.