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How to Save Money at Baseball Games

Last week, I shared a few tips on how to save money getting baseball tickets [3] and today I want to talk about how to save money once you get into the ballpark itself. Baseball is a nice casual sport to watch when you want to hang out in the sunny outdoors without being glued to the action going on in the field. It’s basically several hours of casual sport punctuated with periods of anxiety, excitement, and action that really keeps you involved enough to keep going back.

Unlike a movie, which tries to grip you from start to finish, baseball offers plenty of opportunities for you to get up, stretch, and get some concessions. In fact, the concessions often come to you and it’s a pretty slick system they have going. Movie theaters would love it if they could scream “Popcorn!” or “Ice cold beer!” while you watched a movie. 🙂

When I saw this CNN Money article [4] about how much stuff cost at ballparks, I thought I’d share my tips for saving. So, how can you save money while inside the ball park?

Bring Your Own Gear

Jerseys, t-shirts, caps, foam fingers, and anything else emblazoned with the team’s logo or name is going to be extremely expensive inside the park. You can often find vendors similar stuff outside of the park for a fraction of the price. If you’re savvy, you can buy it off eBay or even at the local mall for much less than at or near the park.

Go During a Promotion

One of the tips for saving money on tickets was to go during a promotion, such as a student night, but promotions are great for getting team logo gear as well. One of my favorite hats is one that I got at a Pittsburgh Pirates game where they gave them out to the first 10,000 or 15,000 fans. The best way to save on team gear is by getting it for free. Between shirts, hats, bobbleheads, and all the fireworks one could handle, you really maximize the bang for your buck at the park.

Bring Your Own Snacks

Different parks have different rules but the Baltimore Orioles Park (at Camden Yards) let’s you bring in your own food and drink (must be sealed in a plastic container). If you go before an O’s game, you’ll see plenty of vendors selling all sorts of food and drink outside of the park. We used to frequently go before games to get “dollar dogs” ($1 hot dogs – very clever naming). We’d bring in our own sodas and water to enjoy while watching the game. I’m sure plenty of people have tried to sneak in beer but we never went that far.

Take Public Transportation

While this isn’t technically saving money in the park itself, taking public transportation can save you money on parking. Depending on how many people are hitching a ride, you may be better off taking the bus or train to get there. It’s also much easier to leave the park afterwards since you won’t be fighting with traffic to get out of the lots. When we used to go to games, we’d park in the cheapest lots farthest away from the park. It saved us money but, almost more importantly, we could get out of those lots easier since they were farther away.

Do you have any good tips on how to save money at the ball park?

(Photo Credit: krug_photography [5])