Hard Hitting Loyalty Initiative Sacked

Feb 07, 2005

By John Hennessy

According to foxsports.com, MasterCard has asked the Redskins to rescind an earlier requirement that season ticketholders who use a credit card to pay for season tickets, use only a Redskins Extra Points MasterCard.

Extra Points MasterCards are issued by MBNA Bank as part of the NFL’s Extra Points program. MBNA pays to sponsor the program and the NFL distributes that revenue to the 32 teams.

MasterCard asked the Redskins to remove the requirement because it saw the move as contrary to its usual corporate policy. As MasterCard spokesman Chris Monteiro said, “The ability of the merchant to accept any MasterCard is kind of a foundation of Mastercard’s acceptance.”

Now the Redskins will accept any type of MasterCard but no other credit card brands will be accepted.

Moderator’s Comment: Was the original decision by the Redskins to specify the credit card to use:

  1. A wise marketing move designed to help the Redskins better understand its fan base?

  2. A short-term focus on the potential revenues generated from use of the credit card with little regard for the fans?

  3. Dopey?

This situation exposes a big problem with binding a loyalty program to a bank issued credit card. The credit card issuer is all about acceptance convenience.
The goals of a loyalty program are about data collection through routine or even exclusive use.

This situation also revealed another problem. The Redskins commented that they had received fewer than 10 complaints regarding the initial restrictive credit
payment policy. Whatever the number of calls they received, I’m sure there were a larger number of steamed season ticket holders who didn’t bother to call but didn’t appreciate
having their credit payment option dictated by the team.

John Hennessy – Moderator

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