Cowboys owner Jones tells court he regrets Super Bowl seating woes

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff football game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Jan 11, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones testified in federal court on Tuesday he regrets that some temporary seats were not ready before kickoff for the Super Bowl in 2011 due because of delays in increasing stadium capacity. Jones spent more than two hours on the witness stand testifying in a lawsuit filed by seven fans who sued the NFL because they either did not have seats, or their seats had obstructed views. On cross-examination, Jones admitted the stadium did not meet its deadline for installing the temporary seats. "I regret that," he said. Lawyers said these are the first multiple lawsuits brought by fans who claim the NFL breached its ticket contract with them by offering inadequate seats or forcing them to stand throughout the game. Jones was originally named in the suit but was later dropped, leaving the National Football League as the sole defendant. NFL officials have taken responsibility for the seating troubles but fans rejected settlement offers of reimbursements and tickets to subsequent Super Bowls as insufficient. Fans are trying to convince the jury that the NFL placed its greed ahead of doing the job correctly, according to court documents. About 13,000 temporary seats were supposed to be set up but 1,250 of those were determined to be unusable because of missing guard rails or other safety problems, forcing 850 ticket-holders to be relocated, with nearly 400 in standing room. Email correspondence and testimony from top NFL executives earlier in the two-week trial, described growing unease about the temporary seating and pressure from Jones to break attendance records at the 2011 game held on Feb. 6 in the Dallas suburb of Arlington. Jones had said at a news conference before the game, which Green Bay Packers won against the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 31-25, that the Super Bowl attendance record would be broken, but it was not. (Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Eric Walsh)