From professional sports to college athletics to town travel teams, in Massachusetts we take our sports as serious fun. From the North Shore to Boston to Western MA we are fans and participants in every season, no matter the weather. Watching the Sox at historic Fenway Park (in continuous operation since 1912!),enjoying another Celtics or Bruins game or the Beanpot at the Garden or cheering on another Pat’s victory at Gillette, home to the 2014 Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, the rowdy fun goes on all year long.
The sporting stadiums and Massachusetts music venues also host concerts, comedy shows, and even graduation ceremonies. Most times the events are good family fun with adequate safety measures and security forces for the occasional bad apple. But sometimes fan and audience behavior can be too rowdy, especially when beer and other alcohol are sold or served. Also, there are inherent risks from being in the stands. At Fenway the announcer will remind fans to be aware of bats or baseballs flying into the stands. An errant pass at a Celt’s game or a puck shot high and wide at a Bruins game can easily go into the stands and fans must be vigilant to watch out and protect themselves. Sometimes fan behavior can be so bad that other fans are put at risk or injured. In either case, the overly boisterous fan or the errant pass or shot, what is the duty of the team or the stadium to protect your safety and if you have been hurt, to fairly compensate you for your injuries?
Your rights as an injured fan or member of the audience may include a claim against the offending party. But do you also have rights to recover your losses against the venue or stadium owner itself?