You may recall a dust-up earlier this offseason involving the Chicago Cubs and ticket reselling market, StubHub. At issue was the Cubs’ belief that the rock bottom prices on tickets that appeared late in the year (sometimes as low as $1) were costing them money. Although those ultra cheap tickets had already been purchased at face value from the Cubs – usually by season ticket holders – the fact that they were available drove down the demand for face value tickets. That included pre-season sales – if you know cheap tickets will be available on StubHub eventually, why buy them at face value now? – and, potentially, season ticket sales. For a few days, it looked like the Cubs would no longer be a partner with StubHub, which would probably be a pain in the ass for resellers (and secondary market buyers, potentially).
The issue was resolved by way of an agreement between the Cubs and StubHub, the details of which are now made explicit in an email StubHub sent to folks yesterday. In essence, here are the changes, clearly designed to destroy the crazy-super-cheap secondary ticket market:
- A minimum listing price of $3, which is a touch higher than you could have previously listed.
- Up front fees to buyers including a 10% “service” fee and a $2 “delivery” fee.
- Taken together, that means the lowest price a buyer will see is $5.30 – a dramatic increase from the $1 they could have seen last year (even though they still would have been hit with fees when they completed their purchase).
- An additional “transfer” fee for sellers, in the amount of $1.50. That comes before StubHub takes its revenue share. They really make sure they get theirs, eh? So, if you list your ticket for $3, you’re going to receive just 85% of $1.50 for your trouble (while your buyer will be paying $5.30). Once again, the incentive to list super cheap tickets is dramatically reduced.
- The sale of Cubs tickets on StubHub ends six hours before the game starts. Prices drop rapidly just before game time, as sellers scramble to get whatever they can. The time restriction will reduce some of that (but only some, as now the scramble will simply occur six hours earlier).
Here’s the full body of the email:
We have some important news to share with you about selling your Chicago Cubs tickets for the upcoming season. We recently renewed our partnership with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), and we’re ready for you to list your 2013 Cubs tickets. But there are some changes you need to know about.
The Chicago Cubs are one of the 27 MLB teams that StubHub will be integrated with in 2013, which means we’ll have a direct link between our site and the teams’ ticketing systems.
MLB transfer fee and minimum list price
As always, it’s free to list tickets on StubHub. When your Cubs tickets sell, there’s a new MLB transfer fee of $1.50 per ticket. When you list your tickets for sale, you’ll see the MLB transfer fee as a separate line item when you set your ticket price. Here’s how it will work: If you list a ticket for $50.00, $1.50 will go to the MLB transfer fee, and your payment will be calculated from the remaining $48.50. So in this case, your payment will be $41.23, which is 85% of $48.50.
You may want to price some of your tickets low, but there is a minimum list price of $3.00 per ticket for all home games for MLB Integrated Teams.
Sale end time change
While StubHub continues to support sales as close to event time as possible, the Cubs have elected to end StubHub sales 6 hours before game time.
Encouraging more MLB ticket buyers
What the buyer sees is what the buyer pays: Starting this year, when buyers check out the selection of tickets for an MLB event, they’ll see all the fees included in the ticket prices. Before this change, buyers had service and delivery fees that they didn’t see until right before they were ready to purchase, which came as an unpleasant surprise to many buyers. We did extensive testing of this model over the past several months to get it right and make sure it leads to better ticket sales and happier customers.
Keep in mind, including these fees up front will affect the overall price the buyer sees for your tickets on the event page, but it won’t affect your payout.
Buyer ticket delivery: The delivery fee for MLB games will be $2.00 per ticket. Like the service fee, the delivery fee will be included in the ticket price on the event page.
Here’s how it will work: A seller who sets a per-ticket price of $50.00 will see that listing on the event page inclusive of the service and delivery fees. So the price on the event page will be $57.00, which includes the ticket price ($50), the buyer service fee ($5) and buyer delivery fee ($2). Don’t forget to keep this in mind when pricing your tickets and looking for them on the event page.
We’re looking forward to a great 2013 MLB season. Please reach out to us if you have any questions.
Sincerely, StubHub Customer Service