Photo: Jason Pero/Flickr
A Browns season ticket holder has sued the team and the NFL claiming the work stoppage is a violation of his personal seat licence.Ken Lanci, a self-made millionaire from Cuyahoga County, owns 10 PSLs that he first bought in the 1990s. (PSLs are up front payments that give fans the right to buy tickets.)
He says the contract gives him exclusive use of his seats for 10 games and the lockout would deprive him of that. He’s asking a judge to grant an injunction that would block the lockout.
Lanci’s strategy may be unusual, but it’s a route that many people have campaigned for fans and municipalities to take. Every NFL team has at one time received tax breaks, subsidies, and direct funding from cities and states to build and operate stadiums, parking lots, and training facilities (to say nothing of the extra police work, security, traffic management and other secondary support provided on game day.) Meanwhile, the teams take all the profits, lay off their employees, and then want to fight players on how to divide up the spoils. While still insisting that you pay for tickets you can’t use.
Those tax dollars were given with the promise that the citizens would get football games and pump millions of dollars of related business into the economy. Both the union and the league admit that cities will lose hundreds of millions when games don’t happen this fall.
So the NFL doesn’t just owe us football, it owes us cash — and it seems only legal options will allow anyone to recover it. We’ll see if the courts agree.
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