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Raptors fan sues when front row seat becomes second row

Nov 1, 2011, 2:35 PM EDT

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Season ticket holders become very attached to their seats. The like the view, the people around them, it’s part of the whole NBA experience. Screw with those seats and they get ticked off.

One such dispute with a Toronto Raptors — where his former seats that had nobody in front of them suddenly had a new row obstructing his view — has gotten going to court ugly. Raptors officials say he is just a ticket broker, not an aggrieved fan.

It all starts Nov. 15, as reported by the Toronto Star (via J.E. Skeets and Ball Don’t Lie).

After a flurry of court filings, unsuccessful mediation and a lengthy discovery process over the past four years, Toronto businessman Mark Michalkoff’s complaint against MLSE is heading to a courtroom…

“All we were looking for was for MLSE to say they were sorry, but they didn’t even answer us,” said Michalkoff, who is suing MLSE for $1.6 million. “Then they insult us by calling us scalpers in a counterclaim,” he told the Star. “I’m ready to go to court and have it out. I don’t think there’s anything they can do to stop it now.”

Rajani Kamath, an MLSE spokesperson, declined to comment. However MLSE said in court filings that DLF Solutions Inc. breached its contract because it made a profit off its Raptors tickets. Michalkoff and his company, MLSE said, “are ticket brokers. They earn business revenue by reselling the tickets . . . ”

You can make money re-selling Raptors tickets? Enough to pay for four years of legal fees? That is one dedicated fan base.

Well, at least nobody is missing any games while this winds its way through the courts.

  1. jrhall888 - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    Front row seats are a special case and hold extra value. It seems to me that if another row of seats was to be installed, the people who currently owned season tickets for front row seats should have had first dibs on the new front row seats. That is, after all, what they’d originally paid for.

  2. fordman84 - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    If this guy fails in his lawsuit, then what stops an arena from selling contracts for “front row seats”, then next season making another row and again selling multi-year contracts for “front row seats”…then repeating this process year after year until there is no more room?

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