That Escalated Quickly: Idaho Steelhead Fans Are Now Suing Over Beer Fraud

Senior Writer
03.14.14 2 Comments

Steelheads beer

After a video that exposed the deceptive beer sales practices by the vendors at the CenturyLink Arena in Boise went insanely viral between Sunday and Tuesday, the front office brass of the home arena of the Idaho Steelheads had to quickly act to avoid a full-scale riot. To recap, Gwen Gibbs and Heath Forsey made a video that revealed that CenturyLink’s $4 “Regular” beers contained as much sweet booze water as the $7 “Large” beers, and all of us blue collar sports fans can agree that knowingly charging people $3 more for the same amount of beer is pretty f*cked up stuff right there.

Four Steelheads fans are especially pissed off, as they have filed a lawsuit against the CenturyLink Arena on the grounds that customers and fans were defrauded by this plastic cup tomfoolery. How much are they looking for? $10,000. According to ESPN, the four fans – none of which are Gibbs or Forsey – claim that in the many, many times that they’ve attended games and events at the arena, they’ve purchased plenty of $7 beers, and they’re pissed that they didn’t get as drunk as they think they should have.

In the lawsuit, Peck says he’s attended at least 30 events over the past three years at the arena, including a hockey game on March 5, and that he’s purchased beer each time. The other three plaintiffs say they have been attending sporting events at the venue for five years and that they bought at least one large $7 beer at each event.

“While different shapes, both cup sizes hold substantially the same amount of liquid and are not large versus small in actual capacity,” the group’s attorney, Wyatt Johnson, wrote in the lawsuit. “Defendants knowingly sold each of their beers in a similar manner at each event held at the arena where beer was sold for at least the last five years.” (Via ESPN)

Now, because sports are a business and sports business news needs to be handled much more differently and delicately than regular sports news, ESPN had Darren Rovell (AKA the guy who claims it’s his job to insult Playboy Playmates over their looks and once asked if it was wrong that he was most worried about his “Man Cave” while people all over the east coast were fearing the worst from Hurricane Sandy) phone it in to weigh in on the business angle of this… even though it’s a legal matter now, and he’s not a legal expert.

“Well, I don’t know why they did it, but this has been done before. There was a similar beer scandal in Seattle for the 2010 season, where the large equaled the small. The question now that this has turned into a lawsuit is at what point was there true deception, if there was? Clearly you have to think that there’s more than a mislabeling once they got the cups. The large beer is a tall glass. The small beer is a fatter glass. You would think that the large beer looks larger, but then from a fluid volume perspective, it’s not.”

Confused? Just wait, it gets so much better. When asked about the chances of the four fans winning the trial, Rovell, who is a business reporter and not a legal analyst, responded:

“Now we’re going to get to a point, assuming that there’s not some sort of settlement, that it appears that they have some sort of a class action lawsuit case on their hands here. This will then go to discovery, and assuming it goes through all the things that you go through when it goes to trial, I think we would then figure out… the question is, is it enough that they were deceived to begin with or does it depend on how they were deceived? I think that’s really where how the legal system is going to look at it. Is it enough that they’ve already lost money and the team advertised something that said that it was a large beer that was really the same as a small beer? Or does it depend in any way on the team conduct and whether they knew that they were putting one over on the fans?”

I don’t have a f*cking clue what he just said, but that’s some outstanding analysis from a guy who possibly makes about a half million a year.

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