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San Francisco 49ers Fan Sues NFL for $50 Million

San Francisco 49ers fan John E. Williams III filed a lawsuit against the NFL for "economic discrimination" in line with an illegal ticket policy early this year implemented by the Seattle Seahawks which limited ticket sales to pro-Seahawks markets, per multiple reports.

Apr 28 2014, 2:09am CDT | by

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San Francisco 49ers Fan Sues NFL for $50 Million
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San Francisco 49ers Fan Sues NFL for $50 Million

San Francisco 49ers Fan Sues NFL for $50 Million
Photo credit: Getty Images

A San Francisco 49er fan is suing the NFL for $50 million. 

The story , which states San Francisco fan John E. Williamson III is accusing the NFL of fraud in line with the Seattle Seahawks banning 49ers fans from purchasing NFC Championship Game tickets in mid-Janaury, originally broke out on April 22, per 

"John E. Williams III of Nevada wanted to buy tickets to the NFC Championship Game between the Seahawks and 49ers on Jan. 19 in Seattle. But he couldn't, because the Seahawks liimted ticket sales to Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii, British Columbia and Alberta. 

"What's a disgruntled football fan to do? File a lawsuit, or course, 

"In a federal complaint filed April 15, Williams accuses the Seahawks, NFL, Ticketmaster and others of fraud for their 'unconstitutional selective sales of tickets to national event held in public stadiums, including Qwest Field,' the lawsuit states.

"The suit consistently misidentifies CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks' home stadium in Seattle, by its old name -- sometimes misspelled as 'Quest.'

"Williams is seeking $50 million in damages and for the NFL to adopt an over-arching policy for distributing tickets. He argues, in part, that because the NFL is exempt from federal income taxes and because most stadiums are financed with public funds, anyone anywhere should be able to attend any NFL game."

Williams told Scott Sonner of The Associated Press (via The Seattle Times) on April 27 the practice makes football "an unfair game."  

"They're always boasting up there about their 12th player and everything else. But by allowing the NFL to decide who can or cannot attend the games, you make it an unfair game. Seattle fixed it.

"This selected process is contrary to the spirit of the NFL and contrary to public accommodation."

Williams says with public subsidies and taxpayers' money as two crucial revenue streams for the NFL, the league should not allow fans from being restricted from purchasing tickets, no matter what geographic area they're from, per Sonner.

"Williams, a promoter in the entertainment industry, said because the league relies on public subsidiaries and money from taxpayers to build stadiums, it should not be allowed to deny ticket sales to individuals on the basis they are 'not from an area determined by the team -- or the NFL -- to be fan of that team."  

Sonner says Williams "is seeking $10 million in punitive damages on top of $40 million in real damages."

On the other hand,'s Josh Kerns says Williams is "an avid football fan," citing the lawsuit. Kerns also reports the Denver Broncos also restricted ticket sales for this year's AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots to Colorado and other nearby states, but without much controversy. 

"Williams is described in the complaint as 'an avid football fan,' and he appears to have filed the lawsuit himself, without an attorney. It was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

"Williams refused to comment Tuesday, telling KIRO Radio he planned a news conference Wednesday in Las Vegas. 

"While there was plenty of criticism leveled at the Seahawks for limiting sales, the team is far from alone. The Denver Broncos also limited ticket sales to the AFC Championship Game to Colorado and surrounding states, but did not draw the same outrage. 

"Other teams have limited sales by geography in the past as well."

For more of the hottest sports news, check out Sport Balla today. 


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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.




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