Three men are suing the Jets for manipulating seat-license prices in an auction. The plaintiffs would have an excellent case, I think, if their judgment and credibility weren't immediately called into question by the fact that they were trying to buy Jets seat licenses. In an auction.
Last fall, the Jets announced they were auctioning off 2,000 seat licenses online for the "Coaches Club" section of their new stadium; the team sold only 600 or so. The men accuse CEO Woody Johnson of goosing the price for the licenses by withholding the other 1,400, according to Courthouse News Service.
Plaintiffs claim the manipulation was egregious, in that the Jets advertised the auction by claiming, "rather than set a price, we'll let the marketplace decide."
They claim that "Jets Chairman and CEO Robert W. (Woody) Johnson admitted after the auction that the defendants reduced the number of seats for sale from 2,000 because having too many available had hurt demand."
The plaintiffs also sued StubHub, an online ticket broker.
Plaintiffs William Poisson, John McHale, and Robert J. Walker demand punitive damages for false advertising, deceptive trade, conspiracy, misrepresentation and bad faith.
The auction was supposedly the largest sale ever on Stubhub.com. The Jets brought in $16 million over nine days and afterward pronounced themselves ecstatic with the results, despite the seemingly thin sales. Johnson told Crain's: "We knew this would be a pioneering event right from the start. That's who the Jets are, we take calculated risks, and this one paid off."
With another franchise, maybe, it'd seem a tad suspicious that the owner was turning cartwheels over selling 600 seat licenses out of 2,000. But the Jets? Somehow, it seems perfectly appropriate for the team to be thrilled with going .300.
NY Jets Accused of Manipulating Ticket Prices [Courthouse News Service]