By Matt Coffelt
Los Angeles, CA
Another bout of public relations trouble struck United Airlines after they shouldered blame for the displacement of thousands of USC season ticket holders. Fans woke up to an email at 3 a.m. informing them their season tickets were gone and no refund would be issued. Some fans had been season ticket holders for over 20 years. Several USC fans turned to social media to vent their frustration, but no one cared.
Sports Business Daily reported Thursday that United Airlines has purchased the naming rights to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. A USC spokesperson said the school hopes to offset some of the projected $270M in renovation costs with this partnership. This makes the airline the single largest contributor to the project and responsible for forcing 9,000 midfield season ticket holders out of their seats to make way for a new, first class luxury seating tower.
“It was horrifying to watch,” an unaffected season ticket holder said. “Those people had just paid for their seats and came in with the expectation of being able to use them. Being manhandled like that was a blatant over application of force. I could understand the use of force if the guy was a fan of the other LA school, but we are Southern Cal. We deserve better than this.”
When asked why the individual didn’t step in to help, the season ticket holder mumbled something about diffusion of responsibility and social contracts while walking away.
One of the affected season ticket holders, who wished to remain anonymous, said he couldn’t believe United had double booked their seats and simply gave it to the person who had paid more.
“Disgustingly unethical behavior,” the affected ticket holder said. “I’m still embarrassed, and slightly covered in bruises, by this whole affair. I’m hiring a lawyer and plan to sue United and my alma mater for at least $12M, which should cover a founder’s box at least [in the new box seating].”
When asked for comment, United representatives said they couldn’t comment specifically as they have yet to complete a three month investigation into the situation, but they insisted that United had done nothing innapropriate and it was their paying customers who were wrong.
“People are focusing on all the wrong things,” United spokesperson, Faye Brooke said. “It’s not about the poor people who lost their season tickets. The real story should be about all the new features in these executive suites. Each suite will have a fully stocked bar, personal chef, and a direct line of communication with Clay Helton’s headset. Our premium fans will now be able to yell obscenities directly into the coaches ear whenever he makes a mistake.”
Other features of the luxury tower include: a hot yoga studio, kale bar, dog grooming center, and a microbrewery. Purchasing one of these suites could set you back a considerable sum, ranging into the millions of dollars on the highest end. There is a $50k fee just to get on the waiting list, and you have to know someone on the list before you can hope to get your own suite. The biggest downside for suite owners is they will also have eight Rams home games included in their USC season ticket package.
USC said it is unfortunate but unavoidable that some fans lost their season tickets, but the school made it very clear to its valued pass holders that single game tickets were still available on StubHub.