Nick Sorensen of Green Bay paid $1,800 for a Super Bowl ticket, traveled down to Cowboys Stadium and, after waiting in line about six hours, ended up watching the big game on TV.
“This was the most disorganized public event I’ve ever been to,” the 22-year-old Sorensen said Monday.
Sorensen was among about 1,250 people who bought tickets in a temporary section of the stadium only to find out just before the game that the seats had been declared unsafe and would not be available.
About 15,000 temporary seats were added to the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium, but construction wasn’t finished in time on all of them. The NFL knew last week about the problem but hoped until hours before kickoff that it could be fixed, NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said Monday.
That means the NFL suddenly had 1,250 ticket-holding fans with no place to sit. About 850 fans were moved to other seats or were given places where they could stand to watch the game.
Sorensen’s group arrived at Cowboys Stadium with plenty of time to spare, 4.5 hours before kickoff, to give themselves time to tour the stadium, eat and enjoy pre-game festivities. It took them nearly 2.5 hours to clear security, and “Then they told us our tickets were bad and that we had to go out again,” he said.
“We were actually escorted out by police after they told us our tickets were not good,” said Sorensen’s father, Pete Sorensen of De Pere.
They were made to wait in a tent while staff tried to figure out what to do with them. Eventually, they were told they could go back in, so after another effort to get through security, Pete Sorensen and his brother-in-law, Steve Nussbaum, were allowed to their seats.
Nick Sorensen and Nussbaum’s son, Andy, however, were turned away again.
They were brought down by freight elevator to a club suite that was below ground and behind the Steelers bench and the media crews.
“There were a couple of windows that, if you stood on a chair, you could kind of see out,” Nick Sorensen said. “We basically watched it on TV.”
Pete Sorensen had better seats, but after getting separated from their sons, he and Steve Nussbaum, spent nearly an hour trying to get back in touch with them, to find out whether they’d gotten in and how they were going to meet up after the game.
“It was basically ‘where are you? Are you safe? How are we gonna meet? Where are we gonna meet?’” Pete Sorensen said. “I basically drained the battery on my phone trying to call back and forth.”
He and Steve Nussbaum missed the pre-game activities and the national anthem. They caught the kickoff but then resumed the search for their sons. They ended up missing the first touchdown.
Nick Sorensen got a letter of apology from the NFL, along with the promise of $2,400 (three times the face value of his ticket), a box lunch and soda. It also allowed him and the others access to the field shortly after the game ended.
The NFL also announced on Monday it will give them free tickets to next year’s Super Bowl contest in Indianapolis.
He’s nervous about the refund, though. To get it, he must mail his ticket to the NFL.
“I don’t want to send my ticket,” he said. “I want a souvenir, and it’s the only thing I have to prove that I was part of that crappy thing.”
If the NFL is indeed giving them free tickets to next year’s Super Bowl, he will definitely be interested, he said.
But his father got no such compensation or offer.
“They still have to account for five hours of my time and still missing part of the game,” he said. “They literally got our tickets to us at 5 o’clock, saying, ‘yeah, you can sit down now.’ How are they going to rectify that?”
They plan to contact the NFL and possibly the Packers this week to see what if anything can be done.
—The Associated Press