10 Ways to Watch Sports on the Cheap

By Tim Lemke on 3 April 2015 0 comments

There are few things more enjoyable than catching a game in person. But heading out to the stadium can be a pricey proposition.

If you're budget conscious, you may feel like seeing a game in person or catching a big Pay-Per-View fight are out-of-reach luxuries. But it doesn't have to be that way. Follow these tips and get off your couch to see the sports you love.

1. Check the Secondary Ticket Market

Many ticket holders will try to sell their tickets on StubHub or other resale sites if they can't attend a game themselves. If you know the game is not sold out, you can often get a seller to unload a ticket for a deep discount if he thinks he'll otherwise be stuck with it. You may even avoid service and handling fees if you use Craigslist or a similar website. I have a friend who's become quite skilled at landing ultra-cheap tickets to NBA games 20 minutes before tipoff with this approach — the longer you wait, the more willing the seller is to offer a discount.

2. Buy Tickets at the Door

If you're not concerned about a game selling out, consider buying tickets when you get to the arena. Buying tickets at the box office allows you to avoid any handling fees or service charges, which can add as much as $10 per ticket. One caveat: Some teams will charge more for tickets not purchased in advance, thus offsetting some potential savings.

3. Look for the Losing Fans

Let's say there are thousands of North Carolina fans in town for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. And let's say North Carolina gets upset in the first round. Well, now you have thousands of fans who may just want to go home. This is where you can score cheap tickets to the next round of games. This approach might also work at major tennis or golf tournaments if popular players are eliminated.

4. Go to a Bar

Why spend $80 for the Pay-Per-View of the latest UFC fight when you can go with some friends to a local tavern? Order a burger and a beer, and you'll still save a pretty penny.

5. Go on Weeknights

Many teams have dynamic pricing that allows them to increase pricing for marquee games, and even adjust it based on supply and demand. This means that a weeknight game against a non-marquee opponent might be a great value. (My hometown Baltimore Orioles have $10 tickets in the upper deck for every Tuesday home game, for example.) Also be sure to avoid games with popular giveaways, such as bobblehead night, that might lead to a spike in ticket demand.

6. Find Out if Your Company Has Tickets

Do you work for a company that sponsors or advertises with a local sports team? Then there's a good chance someone in your office is in control of a group of tickets or even a luxury suite. Generally, these tickets are meant to be used to conduct business, but there will be days when they go unclaimed. In these instances, it may be possible to claim the tickets for your own use. You just need to find out who to ask. (Usually, it's someone in the marketing or corporate relations department.)

7. Sit Up High

Sure, you may be far from the action, but for years, the NBA has required teams to offer several hundred seats for $10. Many Major League Baseball teams have upper deck seats for $5. (And you can often move down later in the game, anyway.) Most arenas and stadiums are modern enough now that even the most distant seats offer a reasonably comfortable viewing experience, even offering great views of the city skyline.

8. Go With a Group

If you can gather a bunch of folks from your office, or even a big crew of friends and family, you can save money. Many teams offer discounted tickets for groups as small as 15 people.

9. Bring the Kids

The Baltimore Orioles offer a club membership for kids that includes ten game tickets and other goodies for $30. Best of all, the adults can then buy game tickets at a discounted rate as well. Check with the teams in your area for similar family-friendly deals.

10. Check the Warehouse Clubs

Did you know that big stores like Costco sell tickets to sporting events, often at a discount? Check your local stores for discounts on packages. Even if stores don't sell tickets themselves, you may be able to get team gift cards for cheap.

How do you save on sporting events?

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