In terms of watching professional sports, baseball is probably third on the list (football and basketball are 1st and 2nd). But when it comes to the experience of watching the game live, I think baseball offers the best bang for your buck when it comes to a fun experience. Baseball is by far the cheapest of all the major professional sports because the stadiums are enormous and there are so many games each year. It’s also outdoors, played when the weather is nicest, and it is played a fairly good pace. It’s not so fast that you have to watch it all the time, not too slow that you get bored (well, depends on the teams playing!), and when it’s exciting, it’s exciting.
I used to go to a ton of baseball games when I was in school in Pittsburgh because the park was brand new, it was easy to get to, and tickets are cheap. We don’t go as often now that we’re in Baltimore (Camden Yards is also beautiful) but when we do it’s a great time. The ballpark experience itself, once you get in, can get pricey (a subject for a future post!) but getting in doesn’t have to be. Here are our tips for saving money on baseball tickets:
Take Advantage of Dynamic Pricing
There are 162 games a year and half of them are home games, so your favorite team will be home 81 times over the next six months. That’s a lot of games and unless you’re in a super competitive division (like the American League East) where road teams have a big draw, you’re probably going to have a few weaker demand games. If you enjoy the ballpark experience and don’t really care who the home team is playing, take advantage of “dynamic pricing” and go for games that are lower in demand. Dynamic pricing is when the stadium increases (or decreases) prices based on anticipated demand.
For example, the Baltimore Orioles will play host to several very popular teams that travel well. Games against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are always popular. Games against the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays are less in demand and you’ll likely get those tickets cheaper.
Check the Box Office
Everyone knows you can buy tickets on online ticket brokers (Stubhub, etc.) but we all hate the processing and transaction fees. Think of the ire everyone has for Ticketmaster . So skip them by just calling the box office and seeing what they have available without the transaction fee. Worst case you can always buy it off Stubhub anyway.
There are a ton of tickets beings old on Craigslist because everyone wants to avoid the fees from Stubhub and other online broker. The risk in doing this is that you might buy a fake ticket, which means you’ll be screwed when you walk up to the ticket checker and the scanner doesn’t accept your ticket. When buying on Craigslist, or any third party like eBay, go with the professionals who have their own business but happen to use Craigslist as the marketplace. It’s no guarantee but if you’re able to pay with a credit card and it’s from something that looks like a business (rather than handing someone cash in a parking lot), you’re better off.
As is the case with any private transaction, go with your gut. If it feels funny, walk away. It’s not a deal if the ticket is fake.
Are You a Student?
Ball parks often have student nights where you can get an upper deck seat for just a few dollars. I used to take advantage of this all the time when I was a student in Pittsburgh. PNC Park was a gorgeous new ball park (still is gorgeous), unfortunately the play on the field was less beautiful. That said, you can get a ticket for less than the price of a movie and be able to enjoy the beautiful weather.
I just checked the Orioles website and you can get a Left Field Upper Reserve seat for just $6 every single Friday if you’re a student. (Normally these tickets are only $9 so it’s still really affordable, but saving $3 is still saving $3!)
Look for Promotions
Finally, just look for the ticket specials and promotions page for your favorite team. They always have random little promotions that you can take advantage of because only a handful of teams ever sell out every single home game. For example, the Orioles will give you a free ticket to a non-prime game (that’s dynamic pricing again) during your birthday month – that’s pretty nice!
What’s your favorite tip for saving money on tickets?
(Photo Credit: Dave DiCello )