ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An angry football fan is suing the NFL saying San Francisco 49’er fans were discriminated against last season and New Mexico football fans hope it brings about change.
John Williams III filed the lawsuit in a US District Court in Las Vegas. He claims he couldn’t get tickets to the NFC championship game, between the Seahawks and 49ers in Seattle, because the home team put restrictions on who could buy tickets.
Seattle decided to restrict its ticket sales to fans with credit card billing addresses in only six states; Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska or Hawaii. They also allowed fans from Canada to purchase a seat to the game.
The rest of the nation, including Nevada and New Mexico, were blocked out.
Mateo Galloupe, from Albuquerque Niner Empire, said he also tried to get tickets but couldn’t. He said he’s not the only one.
“I know that for a fact there were definitely other fans from New Mexico trying to get there, especially here in Albuquerque,” Galloupe said.
Williams is seeking $50 million in the lawsuit filed against several groups including the NFL and Seattle Seahawks.
Williams claims in the lawsuit that, “the practice of withholding the sale of tickets from the public at large and allowing only credit card holders limited to certain areas is a violation of the Federal Consumer Fraud Act and/or common law.”
Its no secret Seattle did it to boost up what’s now become the Seahawks 12th man, the loudest fans in the NFL.
The sea of green proves the ticket restrictions may have paid off. In the end Seattle won.
“To be honest with you, I think the 12th man on any team has a big effect on the game,” Galloupe said.
Galloupe said no matter who’s the home team it is wrong to try and block out any fans from a game.
“I think once they sell out, they sell out, if there happens to be more Seattle fans then 49er fans then they beat us to the punch. But, yeah, first come first serve should be – that would be fair,” Galloupe said.
Galloupe said having roaring fans from both teams in the stands is part of the game.
There is no NFL rule against restricting who can buy tickets to games. The Denver Broncos did it too in the AFC title game against the Patriots. But in that situation, New Mexico was one of the few states allowed to get tickets.
The Seahawks beat the Broncos in the Superbowl.
Galloupe said he’s hopeful this lawsuit will lead to new rules against ticket restrictions.