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Tennessee Ticket Suit

2009 January 31
by Skip Sauer

What is the limit, if any, of lifetime ticket rights that can be “passed down through generations?” That would seem to be the question in this case:

For years, generations of Thomas Luck’s family supported the University of Tennessee and its endeavors. But the Nashville lawyer on Friday squared off against his alma mater in a Nashville courtroom in a dispute over prime box seats at Neyland Stadium.

…As president of the West Tennessee Big Orange Club, Luck’s father, William Luck, helped raise money to build the stadium’s upper west deck. As a result of the father’s fundraising, Gen. Robert Neyland, the school’s former athletic director and football coach, gave William Luck lifetime rights to buy tickets for both seats in a 1961 contract.

The contract said the right could be passed down through generations, and Luck inherited that right when his father died in 2002.

Luck, who is representing himself, filed the lawsuit after school officials sent him a letter saying that because of renovations they were moving his seats.

If the contract is solid, and as described in the article, it would seem that Tennessee’s remedy would be to purchase the ticket rights from Luck at a mutually agreeable price, or live up to the contract. My hunch is that personal seat license contracts in the modern era spell things out in more detail, and may limit the duration of transferable rights. If anyone knows the language in PSL contracts, I’d welcome your comments.

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