October 30, 2007

Raptors fan sues for front row seats: A disgruntled Toronto Raptors fan who last year paid $120,000 for front row seats "right next to the coach" has filed a million dollar lawsuit against the basketball team's parent company after it said it would install a new row of courtside seats in front of his.

posted by tommytrump to culture at 05:00 PM - 7 comments

I'm open to arguments suggesting who's position I should get upset about. I do like that he brought his kids to the photo shoot to make it look like the Raptors are screwing the kids. Michalkoff said . . . "We can take the CEO of any Fortune 500 company to a game and say we're sitting in the front row." "And my kids too, sure, let's not forget about them."

posted by yerfatma at 05:32 PM on October 30, 2007

I probably would be upset too, if I was in his position. But sports teams are a business and as in business, concerned with the bottom line. He should be glad he isn't on the waiting list for Packers tickets.

posted by steelergirl at 05:59 PM on October 30, 2007

there isnt any room for seats in front of where the team sits.they build more seats up there,the people will be sitting on the three-point line.I think dude has the right to be upset,but that's not worth a million dollar suit.if he dont want to pay the rape,I mean rate increase,dont but the tickets.

posted by mars1 at 06:22 PM on October 30, 2007

Having read the linked article, he's got a strong case. The "million dollar" lawsuit doesn't even seem frivolous: those new seats at $1650 a pop times six seats is about $400K. The presumably six seats which would become obstructed are $30K each for the license, so that's another $180K. A $1.6m lawsuit is a reasonable amount to ensure that the Raptors have a disincentive to go through with this: if the suit called for less money, then the Raptors might just say "Fine- we'll pay the suit, and still make a profit". Basically he's suing for 3x the profit they'd make on these new seats at his expense, and that's hardly excessive. I've heard, for example, that a bounced paycheck could be recouped at 3x the value of the check according to Washington state law. If $1.6m seems like a lot, consider what people pay for these seats! See, at first I also thought it was a "I don't want to pay the rate increase for front row seats" frivolous lawsuit, but apparently- as is the case in other sports arenas I've heard of- you have to pay a one-time site license to get the "rights" to those seats (for example, when the Seattle Mariners new stadium opened, it was some $25,000 just to have the license to buy those front-row seats, plus the annual season ticket cost). If they sold him the "license" in 2006 knowing that his seats would really only be good for one year, that would be fraudulent to the tune of $30K/seat. In addition, it sounds like he'd already started paying out for those 2007-2008 "front-row" seats when they notified him his seats were no longer front row. It would be, as the example in the article described, as if a developer sold "lakeside" property, only to dump more dirt in the lake and build a house in front of yours after you started paying off the mortgage. Compounding the problem, the Raptors then engaged in a form of extortion: it sounds like he wasn't allowed to get all his money back, but would have been forced to pony up more money just to keep the value of his seats, namely their "front-row" quality. If I bought a car from a dealer and asked them to deliver it to my home, and when it was delivered they said it doesn't actually have an engine now even though it did when I bought it- but hey, no worries, while I'm not allowed to get a refund, I am welcome to now pay an additional 80% of the price of the car for it to be driveable... well, that dealer would be sued into next month. So yeah... from the facts in that article, it seems the Raptors changed the good he bought after he bought it, and tried to extort more money from him to keep the value of the seats for which he's already paying. I can't see how he'd lose this suit, from what we have to go on.

posted by hincandenza at 09:19 PM on October 30, 2007

I don't know how you can sell front row seats and then build another row in front of that "front" row and expect to get away with it. People who can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on stadium seats can usually afford to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers to sue you. I hope this guy wins the maximum.

posted by worldcup2002 at 10:16 AM on October 31, 2007

Bad move by the Raps. They shouldn't have sold the guy the package based on some lifetime "front row" claim. That's the error. Otherwise, season ticket holders could hold teams hostage against improving revenue streams.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:36 PM on October 31, 2007

I agree it is a bad move for the team. I stopped purchasing season tix in the DC area years ago for similar reasons (Bullets and Caps). I kept buying, they kept raising the prices and moving me further away. One year I went from seven rows away at about hashmark/ blue line- next year I was behind the basket/goal at an angle and 12 rows higher up. I thought the idea was to move closer as other people give up their tickets, but they try to lure new ticket buyers by getting them closer and just screwing them the next year. It is very shady. I hope he wins the lawsuit.

posted by urall cloolis at 10:22 PM on October 31, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.