DALLAS (CN) - A former NFL executive told a federal jury Tuesday that the league thought hundreds of unusable temporary seats at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium would be ready for Super Bowl XLV.
As the NFL's senior vice president of events from 2005 to 2014, Frank Supovitz oversaw nine Super Bowls. He was called to testify Tuesday in a federal breach of contract lawsuit brought by seven ticketholders for the January 2011 game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers at the then-named Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
The plaintiffs say many temporary seats were not installed by game time and were deemed unsafe by city officials. Hundreds of fans had to watch the game on television, outside of the stadium; others were given seats with obstructed views .
Supovitz told jurors the NFL had been told that all the temporary seats would be installed in time and that more than 800 seats stilled needed work on game day. He said the league was forced to redirect workers hours before kickoff to 2,400 other seats that the Arlington fire marshal rejected as unsafe.
The seating contractor completed installation of approximately 2,000 of those seats that were approved, leaving more than 1,200 incomplete seats that were not cleared, Supovitz testified.
The NFL offered displaced fans a choice: a free ticket to the next Super Bowl game and $2,400 - three times the face value of their game ticket; or a free ticket to any future Super Bowl game, round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations provided by the NFL.
The plaintiffs say the offer was not enough: that it did not cover all of their travel costs, nor compensate them for their disappointment and frustration. They plan to call more high-profile witnesses to testify, including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys and Jones are no longer parties to the lawsuit. In a separate lawsuit in August 2014, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dismissed the Cowboys as a defendant because the game ticket "is a contract only between the NFL and a ticket purchaser."
The trial is expected to last two weeks.
Supovitz left the NFL in June 2014 to launch Fast Traffic Events & Entertainment, his own event-consulting firm. He was in charge of events for the National Hockey League from 1992 to 2005.Follow @davejourno
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