Market down for Bengals seat licenses

CINCINNATI — Like most stocks, the market for Cincinnati Bengals seat license contracts has plunged.

The agreements, which can be resold, give holders the right to buy season tickets at Paul Brown Stadium.

But in less than two years, the average value has dropped from $2,783 to $536, according to, a popular online trading exchange.

Kyle Burks, president of the online exchange, sees a good opportunity for Bengals fans to get the license contracts, called COAs for charter ownership agreement, at bargain prices.

"The majority of fans purchase COAs as an emotional purchase and don't really care about appreciation in value," Burks said. "But, if you buy now on Bengals COAs, you're probably going to see a significant increase in value over the next four years."

But some fans are fed up after the Bengals' latest losing season and are willing to sell their licenses at a loss.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who are playing in the AFC Championship game Sunday, show the other side of the market. The average Steelers seat license price in December was nearly $9,000.

A charter ownership agreement has been a Bengals season ticket requirement since the stadium opened in 2000. The team has made the playoffs only once since then, and finished last season at 4-11-1.

But if enough fans decide to keep their licenses and renew season tickets, the Bengals could continue their streak of 44 straight sold-out home game.

Rich Ehemann, 43, of Milford, Ohio, has had enough. He is trying to sell his two club seat licenses, at a loss.

"The COAs were supposed to be an investment and go up in value over time," Ehemann said. "Even after the stock market crash, Bengals COAs are the worst investment of my life."

Others, such as Miami University business student Nabih David, see opportunity. He is trying to sell his four current seat contracts at a loss to have cash to upgrade to club-level seat licenses at low prices. He thinks he can get one for about one-third of face value.

He figures could then sell some of the individual game tickets to make up the difference from his current seats while he waits for the Bengals to improve, which would raise fan demand and prices.

But Robert Young, a Milford fan who claims to have not missed a home game since 1984, plans to unload his two seat contracts for a loss.

If he didn't sell them and let them expire by not renewing his season tickets, control would transfer back to the team, which would be able to sell contracts to a new buyer. He said he'd rather sell at a loss than let the Bengals ownership get them back after all his years of fan frustration.

"For me it was never about an investment," Young said. "I bought the seats as a diehard fan who was attending every game anyway."