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RateYourSeats.com Goes to the Super Bowl

Published Feb 9, 2011 / by Keith Hanson

Note: roll-over links in this article to see corresponding pictures.

In our last Cheap Seats post we joked that we bought $40k Super Bowl seats. While that's not true, RateYourSeats.com was in "North Texas" this past weekend for Super Bowl XLV. Read about our experience and our opinion on the fans who got left out in the cold -- in some cases literally.

We arrived to Cowboys Stadium at about 12 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The weather cooperated with clear skies and a comofrtable 50 degrees. On the way to the stadium we passed hundreds of tailgaters in parking lots that were 2, 3 miles from the stadium. The farthest lots out were charging about $60/car, while the closest unofficial parking lots were charging about $125. Fortunately we had a parking pass in Lot 13 which was very close to the stadium.

We had tickets to the NFL's hospitality event called the "Super Bowl Touchdown Club" so we walked about a mile to Rangers Ballpark where the event was being held. Once inside the stadium we were greeted with one of the more bizarre sights you'll ever see: snow on a baseball field in Texas. The infield appeared to be covered during the prior week's snowstorm, but the outfield was painted with the white stuff. We made our way up to the Touchdown Club Tower where the party was. Once inside there were three levels, all with open bar and a comprehensive buffet. There was live music, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, draft prospects and a lot more going on. But this was Super Bowl Sunday and we wanted to get into Cowboys Stadium as soon as possible!

Shortly before 3:00 we got in line at security to head in to the stadium .Apparently there were two main security entrances into the stadium and the side we were on moved much quicker than the other side. We got through security in less than a half hour while others reported it took more than 90 minutes on the other side of the stadium. With two hours to spare, we headed up to our seats. Once we got up to the third level it was apparent these end zone seats were temporary. According to reports, about 15,000 seats in the stadium were temporary. They weren't bleacher seats or fold-outs, but you could tell they did not belong.

Section: 346
Row: 5
Seats: 6-9

 

Despite being in the end zone, these appeared to be great seats to watch the game. None-the-less, we abandoned to walk around the stadium. Our first goal was to get a better look at the massive jumbotron. This was harder than you'd think because the sections in the stadium are literally that -- sections. We were told that only the first and fourth levels went all the way around. Therefore, if you wanted to see the jumbotron from the third level, you either have to be in the middle of the stadium to begin with or you have to go downstairs, walk around, and then head back upstairs directly under where you want to see the video board. Instead, we opted to go up to the fourth level and view from up there. If you haven't seen the video board, it's better than what you'd heard. It's clear, has great viewing angles and is just absolutely massive. It actually caused problems during the game because the players on the video dwarf the players on the field -- no matter where you're sitting -- drawing your attention to the board at every movement. I don't think anyone is complaining though.

After walking around, we went to the pro shop and then headed back down to our seats for the game!

The food and drink was less impressive than I expected at the world's biggest sporting event. I'm likely spoiled by the variety at Chicago sporting events, and this just did not add up. Not to mention, $19 for a normal-size margarita? I should have brought my flask and a smoothie. Apparently there were no restrooms on our level in our section, which meant you had to head upstairs. It may have been the section we were in, but this was inexcusable. The view from our seats, as mentioned, was great. It would have been nice to sit on the sidelines instead of the end-zone, just for the video board, but these seats afforded us a great look at the entire stadium.

The crowd was a mixed bag. The gentleman in front of me was cheering for both teams and the lady with Steelers gear next to me was chanting "Go Pack Go" unknowingly at the beginning of the game. All in all though, the environment was better than I expected for a Super Bowl. There were more "fans" and fewer "suits" than I expected. The seats, despite being of the temporary variety, were comfortable, though the leg room left a lot to be desired and the seats themselves were not very wide. Overall, these seats would rate two or three stars in any other stadium, but every seat in the stadium warrants at least four stars just because of the video board.

Seatgate

As mentioned above, we did sit on temporary seats, though, thankfully, ours were ready for the game. How about the 1,250 other fans though? To be blunt, the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys have no excuse. The Cowboys last played in Dallas December 19th -- nearly 50 days before the Super Bowl. And even the Cotton Bowl was supposed to be a mini test-run leading up to the Super Bowl. Could you imagine if the Cowboys were in the Super Bowl and these 1,250 fans were all Cowboys fans? Would the NFL be sending them as guests of honor to next year's Super Bowl? No way! They (the NFL and the Cowboys organization) are trying to cop out of this situation because the Super Bowl is traditionally a "suit" event, and most attendees aren't fans of either team. As we've seen from many accounts, this simply wasn't the case. There were die-hard fans spending tens of thousands of dollars on tickets, travel and accomodations to see THEIR team win a Super Bowl. Take a 35 year-old Packer fan. The last time they won the Super Bowl he or she was 21 years old -- and likely not old enough/financially stable enough to purchase tickets to such an expensive sporting event. Fourteen years later, the time is here and he or she can attend and afford -- only to have it all taken away. Don't worry though, cheesehead, you'll have another opportunity just before your 50th birthday and we're going to pay for it! Give me a break

All in all, the debacle that was Seatgate underscores the need to check RateYourSeats.com before purchasing tickets online. We can't do anything about seats not being finished, but we can help you avoid obstructed views, poor sightlines, annoying fans and over-priced tickets.