Oh man you guys I LURVE me some sports. Baseball is probably my favorite, but I’ve been known to watch damn near everything. In the last two years, I’ve paid to watch basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, volleyball, football, lacrosse, curling, and golf. I also missed a tennis match I wanted to go to but it didn’t quite work out.
Watching sports live is definitely one of my biggest entertainment expenses. Not only does the ticket cost money, but so do the snacks, any souvenirs, or, worst of all, parking. It costs $20 to park at many major venues. That’s a bigger load than the average blog post from Robert Kiyosaki.
Fortunately, there are cheaper ways. I go to so many games I can’t exactly tell you how much these tips will save you, but they’ll certainly save you something. That helps, right?
Avoid the pro leagues
Up here in Canada and our four glorious weeks of summer, winter sports dominate. And nothing is a bigger deal than the NHL.
A few years ago, I watched my local(ish) NHL team, the Edmonton Oilers take on the New York Rangers. The guy I was with wanted to splurge, so we spend $160 each to sit four rows up from the ice.
Not only were those seats way too close–which meant I couldn’t see the whole ice and had to watch the game on the jumbotron–the game was an absolute snoozer. After paying for my share of gas, parking, and some popcorn at the game, I was out $200.
I told myself I’d never attend another NHL game, and I haven’t since.
Instead, I switched to junior hockey. Our local team costs $13 for a ticket, parking is free, and I can get popcorn and a drink and get change back from a $5 bill. Season tickets for 30 home games would set me back $300.
Sure, the skill isn’t as high as the NHL. But it’s still damn better than I can play. Kids are more passionate too, so their effort level is higher.
I’ve done this so many times. I watched Korean soccer and basketball. I watched the Women’s World Cup. I’ve watched minor league baseball. All of those tickets didn’t cost more than $20, and I enjoyed all of those games.
Use secondary markets
Stubhub might be the greatest invention in the history of the internet. Second to this here weblog, anyway.
Most people think of Stubhub as a way to get tickets for the big game that’s already sold out. Sure, you’ll pay out your nose to get there, but you can be at some historic game seven. Have fun paying $500 just to watch your team lose, sport.
I use it in a different way. Season ticket holders will use the service to sell the tickets they don’t want. I let supply and demand take over and choose the cheapest games to go see.
Let’s use the Calgary Flames as an example. Which early regular season game is the best value?
$57 to see the lead of CCR? TIME FOR A SIMPSONS JOKE:
Marge: Quick! Somebody perform CPR!
Homer: Uh, okay! I see a clear moon arisin’
Marge: That’s CCR!
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Anyhoo, it’s pretty clear the prices for the Buffalo or Carolina games are lower than any of the others. Probably because Flames fans don’t care about those teams, so season ticket holders are looking to sell them on the secondary market.
Another tip about buying tickets in the secondary market is people tend to get more desperate the closer it is to game time. Prices will be cheaper a couple days before the game compared to a month before.
Go to those games, save money. It’s easy.
Go by yourself
Do you think he’s going to make a no friends joke?
God, he’s so immature and predictable.
Because I am less popular than Richard Dawkins at a pastor’s conference (HE’S STILL GOT IT!), I’ve gone to tons of sporting events by myself. It’s a good way to hide your crippling loneliness for a few hours.
The best deals are for single tickets. Hell, if you hang around the ticket window and look dejected enough, you might even score an unused ticket for free.
$3.50 to print my G.D. tickets at home, Ticketmaster? You people are worse than Hitler.
It costs what, $10 to get a beer at the stadium these days? That’s terrible. Either drink before the game (a terrible idea, really, for all sorts of reasons) or go out afterwards.
This is another advantage of going to a minor league game. The last AAA baseball game I went to had $2 beers. That’s much more civilized.
Work behind the scenes
Want a free way to watch sports? Volunteer for the team.
In exchange for free labor and not a whole lot of work, you’ll get into every home game for free. If you do this at a professional level, there probably won’t be much time left over to watch the game. But if your minor league team is like our junior hockey team, the four security guards actually do something about twice a year.
Any other tips on how to save money going to watch sports?