ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Two Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ticket holders claim the team revoked their tickets for "no legitimate reason" and have filed a class action lawsuit against the organization.
"These wrongfully revoked season tickets were then resold at a significantly greater price than the price promised by the Bucs for tenured renewal," according to the suit, filed in Hillsborough County court on Thursday.
The team on Friday acknowledged the lawsuit's filing but did not issue an immediate response.
Sean Fontaine, a season ticket holder since 2012, purchased seven season tickets in November 2016 for $3,267.36 through his member relations associate.
In February 2017, the associate told him the ticket price had increased by $873.17, which Fontaine immediately paid, according to the document.
"Sean Fontaine believed that he had adequately accepted the Bucs offer of renewal of his season tickets, and he assumed that everything concerning the renewal of his season tickets was 'handled,' and he awaited his annual package from the Bucs, which would have included his tickets, lanyards, and 'welcome' information, as prior renewal packages contained," the document said.
Two months later, Fontaine was notified by the team that his season tickets were revoked due to him selling six of them in October 2016. His money was refunded.
"Sean Fontaine had received no prior description of any such 'policy' barring the resale of tickets, and nothing he ever received stated that such behavior was any type of violation, nor had he ever received any warnings that such conduct was prohibited or would have any impact on his season ticket renewal rights," the document said.
A surprise revocation
Louis Mendel, a season ticket holder since 1995, purchased 15 season tickets for $14,139.06 in November 2016.
Mendel was notified five months later by a fellow season ticket holder that his tickets were for sale.
"Mr. Mendel was perplexed as to why the Bucs would revoke his previously renewed tickets with no warning or substantiated reasoning and failed to notify Mr. Mendel prior to the Bucs offering his tickets for sale publicly at a significantly higher price," the document said. "He was even more amazed that the Bucs would be offering his season tickets for sale prior to sending him the full refund for the money he sent in to renew his season tickets, which he fully and properly believed manifested an acceptance of the consistent offer by the Bucs to renew those season tickets."
Mendel and Fontaine are suing for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, misrepresentation, equitable estoppel and conversion.
Both men believe their tickets were revoked because by fans from opposing teams purchasing them, it "somehow dilutes the preferred solidarity and 'atmosphere' of the season ticket holders that are fans of the 'home team,'" the document said.
"Based on information and belief, the Bucs engaged in the revocation of several season ticket holder’s tickets and benefits for some unsubstantiated allegation of a violation of the terms and conditions and manufactured an after-the fact prohibition against reselling the tickets," the document said. "The terms and conditions the Bucs rely upon to utilize against season ticket holders are neither assented to by the season ticket holders, nor do they include the grounds the Bucs have purportedly asserted as the basis to revoke the subject season tickets."
Mendel and Fontaine described the team reselling their tickets at a higher price as a "systematic scheme" for profit and claim it was never explicitly stated that the reselling of season tickets constituted a breach of contract.
"The only mention of reselling the tickets made by the Bucs was that reselling tickets was permitted and actually advertised through their own secondary reselling site via, 'Account Manager,' an application created by the Bucs," the document said.
Season ticket holders are given a group of tickets for particular seats during each home game and two preseason games. Additional perks include discounts on food and merchandise, access to exclusive events and behind the scenes and the right to purchase season tickets for the following season ahead of others.
Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 10 News app now.