Blame the media: Press gets fans' seats
NEW ORLEANS -- There was another ticket mix-up at a championship football game.
Dozens of fans arrived at the Superdome for the Allstate BCS Championship Game between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama to find their seats were taken for auxiliary press seating Monday night.
The top two rows of the upper deck were turned into an overflow area for the media, with one of the rows covered by tables. Fans complained that they paid for those seats but wouldn't be allowed to use them. Officials with the Sugar Bowl, who were in charge of hosting the championship this season, quickly found new seats for affected fans closer to the field.
"In making adjustments to accommodate the overwhelming media demand for this game, it was necessary to void seating in the upper (rows) of the stadium," Sugar Bowl spokesman John Sudsbury said. "Apparently, some of that seating was not removed from the saleable manifest."
Sudsbury said the bowl had an emergency relocation plan in place that accommodated all involved ticket holders.
The mix-up is similar to a situation that occurred at last year's Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas, where some temporary seating had not been inspected and couldn't be used. Some angry fans had to watch the game on televisions in a lounge at Cowboys Stadium.
Incidentally, the Super Bowl will be in the Superdome next season and auxiliary media seating will be needed for that game as well.
One of the fans affected by the BCS ticket mix-up was Timothy Rodrigue of Denham Springs, who'd paid face value for a seat -- $300 -- that was beneath the retrofitted auxiliary press table.
"It's a great exercise in crisis management for the dome at this point," Rodrigue said before being relocated. "At least I feel good that they're getting this out of the way before the Super Bowl happens next year, but it's certainly an inconvenience for all these people. People are freaking out."
After he and other fans had been moved down to a lower level of the stadium, he called his new seats "a good fix."
It was a relief for Sugar Bowl officials, who initially had some anxious fans on their hands.
Sporting a No. 7 Tyrann "Honey Badger" Mathieu jersey, Jason Field was among those escorted by stadium officials to the plaza with other fans.
"I bought a ticket for a certain seat and I tried to go there and it turned out to be full of press," said Field, an LSU alum who's back in school in Baton Rouge. "I was told to go somewhere else.
"I feel like I'm lost."
Asked how much he paid for the ticket, Field responded: "Way too much."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press