“Let sue for our team losing!”, a saying that I have heard time and time again from fans. Now no one likes to watch his or her team lose, but some fans can never catch a break. Take Chicago Cubs’ fans for instance. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908! Since then, their fans have struggled through some tough heartbreaking losses. I know the feeling all too well. As a Western, New Yorker and Buffalo native, I am a Buffalo Bills fan. I am a fan of a team who lost 4 straight Super Bowls, only to go on a 16-year run of missing the playoffs. Boston Red Sox fans know the feeling far too well, as they went 86 years before they won their next World Series (and then went on to dominate baseball for the past 10 years).
However, what kind of remedy would a fan even look for from the legal system? Perhaps they could sue the league/owner for theft as they had to pay for a ticket and were robbed of a victory. Maybe they could sue for false imprisonment, claiming that they were tricked into staying in the arena to watch their team and could not leave. These are wild claims and would cause every attorney to laugh in the fan’s face. The only somewhat rational claim I could think to make would be to sue your team’s owner for intentional infliction of emotional distress. As crazy as it sounds, lets analyze this law to see if we have a legal claim for us miserable fans.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a claim found in tort law. It requires that a party had a intent, to inflict severe emotional distress on another, and that as a result, the receiving party suffered from this distress. You would need to prove that your team’s owner purposefully, and knowingly, provided a poor team for you, and that the loss they suffer is so severe that it has an impact on you in an injurious way. I’m not sure how a team losing a game, or even a history of losing games, would meet the severe emotional distress requirement, as it would be wildly subjective for each fan. Also, it is laughable to even assume that an owner would intentionally produce a crappy team to play in order to stick it to the fans and cause them pain. It is the owner’s business after all, so there is pretty strong circumstantial evidence indicating he would want to win.
All in all, I’m sad to say there is not legal remedy for fans of losing teams. Whether you are a Buffalo Bills, Detriot Lions, Cleveland Browns, or a Chicago Cubs fan, you will just have to suffer through the losing. Who knows, maybe one day we can all be winners. If Boston can do it after 86 years, who is to say others cannot? For now, fans will have to sit, wait, watch, and suffer the anguish and depression until their teams start to win (unless if never happens…).