How I Save Money on All Types of Sporting Events

by Travis Pizel · 6 comments

I’m a huge sports fan, increasingly so as I get older. Maybe I just love the thrill of competition, maybe I enjoy watching humans do unbelievable physical acts, or maybe it just makes me feel younger.

It’s probably a little of all of them, but I love sports. Like most guys, I enjoy sitting in my favorite armchair and watching a great game unfold on my big screen high definition TV, but there’s nothing like seeing a game live.

Some of my best childhood memories are from sporting events. I remember my parents taking me to an afternoon double header at the old Met Stadium watching the Minnesota Twins, and I was one of the lucky ones who got a free souvenir helmet!

With ticket prices skyrocketing, combined with parking and the insane cost of concessions and souvenirs, making similar memories with my son is cost prohibitive.

The good news is, there are ways to enjoy great live sporting events without breaking your budget.

Side note: I live in the mid-sized city of Rochester, Minnesota, which has a population of about 100,000 and no suburbs. Here are some examples of how my family is able to enjoy semi-professional sports teams at a fraction of the cost.

Baseball

Rochester Honkers: a $7 ticket will get you any seat in the house. Parking is free, and they have entertainment in between innings. There are also promotions such as the “beer batter” which results in a reduction in beer prices for an inning if that batter strikes out.

Check with your local baseball team and see if they have any special promotions, or if you can park a few blocks away to save money on things like parking.

Minnesota Twins: I have to drive 90 minutes to get to the stadium, parking costs me $15, and the average ticket price for a Major League Baseball game is just over $33.

It may be a far drive, but if the ticket price is worth it, you can make a fun Saturday trip to the ballpark with your family. All without spending a lot of money.

Football

Rochester Community and Technical College Yellow Jackets: RCTC has been a community college football powerhouse for years. They’re fun to watch, and tickets are $7.

Check with your local university or community college for their game schedule. A live event is always more fun than watching a professional game on your TV at home. Plus, you’ll get outside and be able to feel that game energy.

Minnesota Vikings: The average NFL ticket is over $110. Start doing the math of the cost of an NFL outing for a family of four and you’ll feel like you need to get a second job.

If you do choose to indulge in an NFL game, make it a once-a-year type of thing. Or even every couple of years. That way you can save up money to put directly towards this event.

Hockey

Rochester Ice Hawks: Local athletes and college kids playing tough nosed hockey for a ticket price of $9.

Find out where your local teams hang out, and what other kinds of sports are available — outside the mainstream ones. Sometimes the best games are the ones where players put their heart and souls into the game.

Minnesota Wild: The average ticket price of $65 could leave your budget a bit slim, so check out other events that may be outside the regular circle of sports.

Ticket prices to local college or semi-pro teams are a fraction of the price of going to their big league counter parts. Obviously we’re not talking about the same level of athletic potential, so are they worth the price of admission?

I definitely say yes, but you should find out for yourself. You just might make one of those lifelong memories.

Do you go to live sporting events in your area? What’s one way you get discounts and find ways to save money?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Susan says:

    The USHL offers a great option for hockey fans if you have a team in your area. I am lucky enough to have the Chicago Steel close by. They are the premier junior players in the US fighting for scholarships and to be seen and signed by NHL scouts. The Steel offer ticket prices for as low as $5.50 if purchased online in advance and that ticket can get you first row center ice as it is open seating. The list of players in the NHL that have been through the USHL is extensive you see stars in the making and can often get their autograph/gear.

    • It’s funny you should mention the USHL, Susan….my city (Rochester, MN) used to have a USHL team – The Rochester Mustangs. They folded after the 2001-2002 season unfortunately. Our current team – the Ice Hawks are part of a different ,but similar sort of league. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Mike says:

    You are so, so right!! We discovered that not only is there a HUGE price difference for tickets and food when it comes to pro versus minor leagues, but the guys in the development teams play so much harder (and the games are often more exciting) because they are trying to get into the majors.

    • There definitely is something to be said about athletes trying to make it to the big show…I know that’s why a lot of people think college football is more entertaining than the NFL. Thanks for your comment!

  • TurnedMyLifeAround says:

    You failed to mention the St. Paul Saints baseball team. Tickets are in the $8 – $16 price range and parking was free (street parking). Now that they are moving to their new ball park in downtown St. Paul, it will be much harder to find free parking, but the ticket prices will be in the same range.

    The games are competitive and there’s entertainment between every half inning on the field. It’s a great time for a relatively low price!

    • The Saints are a great option, TurnedMyLifeAround – although the cost for me would be a bit higher since I would have to drive the 70 miles north from Rochester to the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. But I certainly agree that the Saints are a much less expensive option than going to an MLB game!

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