The Bengals recently did something that WDR thought best to ignore lest we draw attention to it and encourage its use. However, details sent to us by readers and from our own research led me to believe it's better to address "it" head on rather than pretend "it" doesn't exist any longer. The "it" that I refer to is the online marketplace for Bengals COAs.
The Bengals partnered with a website called Season Ticket Rights (which I refuse to link to) that allows COA owners to post their COAs for sale. We discussed this secondary market for Bengals COAs back when we initially launched the PM Ticket Boycott. Our stance remains the same, do not facilitate the secondary market and sell your COAs.
However, as Douchebag reader Erik (renewed his season tickets - sorry to land on you Erik) noted, the Bengals emailed fans/ticket holders and featured this online marketplace in a boastful manner as helpful to their fans. While that's of debatable truth what is undeniable is that this set up is GREAT for the Bengals.
Well, besides the beneficial effects that easily accessible secondary markets have on ticket demand...the Bengals get (you guessed it) some juicy fees from this website.
Now, the Bengals already charge a fee if you transfer your COA. If you dig into the COA agreement, you'll find the language where they say this but the amount of the fee is not disclosed. Disclosing it would of course be fan friendly and useful information and we all know that's the last thing the Bengals strive to be. The actual quote from the COA agreement section 3.b. is:
All transfers will be subject to payment of a transfer fee to be established from time to time by the Bengals.
Well, I visited the evil Season Ticket Rights website and saw the following information about fees charged to sellers and buyers who use their online Marketplace (same terms apply to both those selling and buying COAs).
The seller is charged a Transaction Fee calculated as 10% of the sale price (minimum $250)...This Transaction Fee is different from the normal $20 transfer fee, which the Bengals have waived for all transactions using the Bengals COA Marketplace.
(same terms apply to buyers as well.)
Well, based on that paragraph it sounds like the Bengals charge a transfer fee of $20 normally. We'll assume that applies to both buyer and seller. Looking at a list of prices sellers are offering for their tickets (not too many available), very few come in at under a $1000 asking price. Therefore, that double 10% fee the Bengals levy on transfers using the Marketplace would provide a much larger chunk of revenue than the typical $40 total they get when COAs change hands outside of the Marketplace (side note: they obviously split that fee with the website but it still is much more beneficial for transfers to execute on the site than outside of it).
A few other points to close out with:
- That 10% fee the Bengals charge to both buyers and sellers is the highest of any of the other NFL teams registered to sell with this site (most charge 5% instead to one party and 10% to the other, and sometimes just 5% to both)
- The $20 transfer fee the Bengals charge for COAs that trade hands outside of the Marketplace is actually less than the other teams I saw registered with this site (small consolation)
- Other teams using this service also are cashing in pretty nicely on COAs that change hands...some Chicago ones were listed at upwards of $200,000 (note to whomever is selling that, don't use that website and pay the $100 or so transfer fee instead)
My advice: if you must sell your COA, use Craigslist, Ebay or some other method than this Bengals Fee Extraction Plan masquerading as a "helpful" service.