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Indiana Consultants Evaluate a Superbowl Catastrophe

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Nearly 400 football fans were denied the seats they purchased at a Super Bowl. And despite the efforts at reconciling the situation, anger and outrage was ever present in the hearts of many. So what exactly happened?

The explanation for the Super Bowl ticket discrepancy is quite straightforward. According to the article, the leading culprit in the disaster was the freakish weather that Dallas had received just days before the big game:

The Associated Press reported that the temporary seats had been installed in six temporary sections, but they went up so late that the fire marshal didn’t have time to inspect them, according to a police officer standing near an affected area who wouldn’t give his name. The officer said the winter storms that struck Dallas earlier had set back work on the temporary seats.

Not surprisingly, the ticket holders were far from pleased. After all, not only did they spend big bucks on the seats, but many had to buy flights and pay for hotels. For the entire fiasco, they received the following retribution:

  • Ticket holders were given the option to either watch the game on monitors in the North Field club behind the Steelers bench or on standing room platforms at the corners of the stadium.
  • They willl be receiving a ticket refund three times the face value of their original seats – an estimated amount of $2,400.

In retrospect, the NFL had little choice in the matter. The newly constructed seats had not yet been inspected; an undeniable fact that compromised the safety of the fans. Yet there is one aspect of the story that, if not for its existence, could have prevented the blunder altogether. According to the same article, “about 15,000 temporary seats were added to the stadium in a bid to set the record for the largest crowd in Super Bowl history.”

consulting on Dallas Cowboys stadium

© Flickr user John Purget

This one sentence makes the process-oriented nature of the problem abundantly clear. Tickets for regular seats are different than tickets for temporary seats. The NFL made the mistake of treating them the same, and got burned to the tune of nearly a million dollars. If these “extra seats” were considered as truly separate, they would be been distributed and sold through different channels and with appropriate refund policies.

Undoubtedly, thinking outside the box can increase worker productivity and fuel innovation. Yet, companies and organizations must be conscientious of the fact that each choice made not only affects business itself, but those who partake in it as well. If not all the components of process are considered, somewhere down the line it will inhibit progress and create lowered employee satisfaction.

So in the end, prior to moving forward in a project, it’s best to first investigate all factors that accompanies it’s creation. It may make the process more difficult to navigate, but it will certainly protect those most important to a business: it’s stakeholders. The NFL has every right to try to serve more customers by innovating, but they must treat the new idea as a distinct process. Without doing so, something as innocuous as bad weather can ruin the day.

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