“The Letter” – Sports Tickets/Licenses

After Elaine refuses to take off her Baltimore Orioles baseball cap while sitting in George Steinbrenner’s box, Nina’s dad Leonard West has security evict Elaine from Yankee stadium. Can Elaine really be kicked out of the ballpark for refusing to take off her baseball cap?

While they may not seem like it, tickets to sporting events, or really any event for that matter, are a kind of contract formed between the purchaser and the owner of the facility. Even though THIS IS AMERICA, tickets are still considered limited and revocable licenses, which allows a person access to a certain piece of property for a certain period of time, the venue and time period of the event. In general, licenses are freely revocable at any time, unless something happens that makes the license irrevocable. One such way that a license can become irrevocable is if the owner of the license expends some amount of money in order to obtain the license. In that case, the license is irrevocable until the purchaser of the license receives value for the money he or she has expended, or if the violate some term of the license.

So let’s analyze the facts here. Elaine was given the tickets from Nina’s dad Leonard, who works for the Yankees and was given the tickets by Steinbrenner. Elaine was granted a license (the ticket) by, ultimately, Steinbrenner himself, and as mentioned above licenses are freely revocable unless money has been expended in exchange for the license. Elaine never actually paid for the ticket. Therefore, Steinbrenner could, if he wanted to, revoke the license like it’s a bodily function and kick Elaine out from the seats in the owner’s box. While Mr. West doesn’t necessarily have that authority, the legal point is that Elaine could be evicted at whim.

She was a guest of my father's.

But what if Elaine had actually paid for the tickets herself. Could she so easily be evicted then? We at SeinfeldLaw do not believe so. Had Elaine purchased the tickets then she could not just be evicted for wearing the wrong baseball cap. She would have to violate the license in some way, like by violating the code of conduct that governs the license. As it happens to be, Elaine very well may have violated that code of conduct anyway, as she threw George’s cap and aggressively put her hands on the security guard, which are both violations of the Yankees code of conduct. Therefore, since she arguable violated the code of conduct, Elaine could still have been evicted from the game, though not because of her choice of hat.

Boy, the Yankees cannot buy a hit tonight.

The same way that licenses are freely revocable, the owner of a property is also free to not issue a license to a particular person. Therefore, banning a fan from coming to all future games at a particular venue is perfectly legal for the owner of the venue to do (assuming it’s for non discriminatory reasons). While we at SeinfeldLaw do not know whether the owner of a team can ban someone or whether the banner must be the actual owner of the venue, we can certainly say that banning a fan for life is not an illegal act, despite however much bad press the owner may receive.

Generally, fans have a right to wear the baseball cap of whichever team they want when going to a game. But in this particular instance, Nina is right when she says to Jerry “he was a guest of my father’s. She should’ve taken the cap off.” If Elaine wanted to stay and watch the rest of the game, since she was given the ticket and did not purchase it, she probably should have just listened to George’s advice and…

Just take the cap off.

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