Bunny Slippers, anyone?
Thanks to Anonymous Burner for this tip-off. Tickets and Vehicle Passes are still for sale. Just go to your Burner Profile.
Anonymous Burner questions how would we know if only 500 of these tickets get sold? If 5,000 were sold at this price, how would we know?
November, 2013. I made the call. Burning Man tickets $500, and above $1000 by 2020.
My prediction is we will see ticket prices go above $500 in the next 3 years, and I would not be surprised if they were more than $1000 by 2020
Little did I know that we would hit both milestones in 2016.
Think I’m kidding? The cost to buy 2 tickets and a vehicle pass in 2016 is $973.74. You pay a $7 service fee on each item you purchase, even though it’s a single transaction and mailing.
It might not sound like much to BMOrg, managing their almost $40 million annual budget; but 9% Live Entertainment tax on 2 $390 tickets should be $70.20, and Burners are being charged $70.74. I mean hey, it’s only 54 cents, what’s that on a $500 ticket?
$37,800 $18,900 if you’re the one selling 70,000 tickets! That is more than any individual art grant (unless you’re David Best)
What sort of mindset do these people have, that they would do this to us? Rip us off even further, for less than an extra 0.01% take. When we are the ones providing their party in the first place.
One wonders if this random number for the Live Entertainment Tax of $70.74 is because they really mean $77.40 – what the 9% would be if we were paying the tax on the Vehicle Pass as well.
The vehicle passes look cheap, the tickets look kinda pricey.
Tickets are around $750 on eBay and Vehicle Passes start at $250.
[Update 3/28/16 7:26am]
In the comments, Trey said:
The extra $.54 is explained on the website ticket cost page. No conspiracy.
Who said anything about a conspiracy? We’re clearly being ripped off by BMOrg, it gets worse every year, and no conspiracy theory is required to see that because it is obvious to anyone who pays for their own ticket.
But what of this comment?
I went to the “website ticket cost page” – presumably this http://tickets.burningman.org/
I searched for “54”. Nada.”27″ just took me to the 27,000 vehicle passes.
On the ticket support page that Nomad (not Trey) helpfully posted, there is a clue – but you have to be very, very dedicated to get to it.
At the very bottom of the FAQ is an item: Live Entertainment Tax. This item requires you to log in before you can even read it. And it’s not logging in to your Burner profile: it’s yet ANOTHER account with BMOrg to create. It requires 2-factor authentication, you have to verify your email with them – before they can answer any “Frequently Asked Questions” about the tax. The password security on this account is much higher than on the Burner profile, so you might need to pick a new password also. I guess BMOrg is terribly concerned about hackers trying to get answers to frequently asked questions. Fortunately, no hacker could ever figure out how to create a fake email account – phew! Nice saving us from scalpers and hackers, BMOrg!
In three decades of using the World Wide Web, this is the first time I have ever encountered an FAQ where some of the answers were password-protected. Helpful? Transparent? Or more PITA jumping through senseless hoops, to avoid giving Burners a straight answer?
When you get there, it says:
Then I found this on the Tickets Page:
- A 9% Nevada Live Entertainment Tax will be added to the price of all tickets and $3 of the $7 per ticket service fee. Will Call delivery is the only delivery method subject to this tax. The $12 Will Call delivery charge will be inclusive, meaning additional tax will not be added for choosing this delivery method ($1.08 of the $12 fee is built-in tax).
Let me try to parse these two statements, so we can figure out what’s going on. They’re sure not making it easy for us.
You pay $7 on top of each item. Ticket, vehicle pass, doesn’t matter.
You pay $0.27 per ticket extra for the Live Entertainment Tax being applied to just $3 of the total $7″handling” fees; all handling is done by computers outside Nevada.
Although you pay the same handling fee for buying a vehicle pass in this transaction, you don’t have to pay any tax on vehicle passes.
You pay $1.08 tax out of your $12 Will Call fee, but Burners don’t have to pay this particular sub-tax because BMOrg will.
Everything else, Burners pay.
Why is it 9% of $3 of the $7? That will require some further password-protected answers, probably. I certainly couldn’t find an explanation in the FAQ.
As Nomad says, have you ever seen a more convoluted and confusing ticketing system?
So each ticket is $390 Face Value
Actual cost is $397
And the tax on each ticket is (390 * .09) + (3 * .09) = $35.10 + $0.27 = $35.37
Making each ticket (without vehicle pass): $432.37
plus $22 domestic mailing charge = $454.37
plus $87 vehicle pass = $541.37
Look at what we have to go through, just to figure out how much tickets cost. It’s certainly not “$390 – unchanged from last year”. Tickets actually cost 40% more than face value – yet Burners are supposed to snitch on other Burners selling tickets for anything more? Because we’re trying to prevent scalpers? It’s quite clear who is selling tickets above face value, from the very beginning.
In the example I gave originally, each ticket was subject to an additional 27c “Live Handling Tax”, creating a further 54c cost to buy two tickets. So I was incorrect in saying that BMOrg benefits by $37,800. It was a mere $18,900.
BMOrg are collecting the tax from us now, when they sell the ticket. But the tax isn’t due until the event, almost half a year away.
Now, interest rates are low, and it’s not a great time to be sitting on cash. But you can still get more than 1% on a 6-month CD. The best offer here is 1.6% and here 1.74%, but that is retail. People with powerful friends on the inside of the banking system (not to mention $40 million or so in up front cash) could probably get better deals.
How much interest does BMOrg earn on our tax money, before handing it over to the Nevada government?
The new information that the Live Entertainment Tax is not being charged on vehicle passes, but is being charged on $3 of each handling fee (for tickets, not vehicle passes), is now incorporated in this chart. However, we may still be missing 4,000 tickets worth of revenues from the count.
There has been a lot of talk about 72,000 tickets this year, including tickets to staff and Fire Conclave performers (not that a live performance is live entertainment, or anything…). The change on total revenue from this has a significant impact:
If those extra 4000 tickets are sold at $397, $38,861,090
If they are sold at the VIP “Da Vinci” price, $42,392,690
They are being sold right now at the VIP price – the point of this post. But we are told only 500 of these are available and the total tickets for paid participants is 68,000, so anything else is pure speculation.
Sticking to what we know – $2,682,900 LET; and a retail 1.74% interest rate for 6 months, how much could BMOrg make in interest? $23,341.23
For BMOrg to eat the Live Entertainment Tax on handling fees for all of us, not just Will Call users, would have cost them less than the interest they’re going to earn from collecting the tax money from us now and paying the government after the event.
[Update 3/28/16 11:47am]
Vivid tickets have cheaper prices than either eBay or Stubhub – $748.
Anonymous Burner confirmed that even after buying two VIP tickets, the link is still available on their profile to buy more.