Spring is in the air and so are those baseballs. If you’re a family who enjoys our national past time, a night under the stadium lights can be a memorable walk off win… or a gut wrenching extra innings loss. Either way, most people spend a ton of dollars to see the games, but that doesn’t always need to be the case. Here’s a few tips from a frugal father who loves to take his family out to the ballgame:
1. Check Out Some Third Party Apps
Very rarely will I buy my tickets from the team’s direct site. I’ve found that season ticket holders who can’t go to all the games try to recoup their losses by selling leftover tickets through sites like www.stubhub.com, www.vividseats.com, and www.seatgeek.com. They host a plethora of ticket options fetching far lower than the retail value on direct sites. My favorite is SeatGeek, particularly their smartphone app. You can scale which seats you want, or what price range you’re looking for. What sets SeatGeek apart is the searching it does from other sites. Like those hotel and airline sites, it searches the web for the cheapest price possible and you’ll end up getting tickets at a far better deal. Their color coding method makes it quite easy to see which seats are at the hottest price (dark green being the best, red being the worst deal). Bonus: If you tap on a seat, it’ll take you to a hi-res photo from a fan who sat there so you’ll see the view of your prospective ticket.
2. Choose Your Games Strategically
If you click on your team’s schedule, you’ll find the promotional giveaway schedule somewhere nearby. The games with giveaway items are marked up, so stay away from those giveaway nights if it’s a deal you’re looking for. When the schedule comes out (usually in the winter) I’ll get out my calendar, look for the non-promo nights and grab my tickets earlier. This helps me avoid impulse buying, and helps my wife with a planned outing for the sitter. Planning ahead is a great way to get your tickets at a price you’re comfortable with. Avoid getting tickets a few days before because usually a spike in sales is happening, and so are those prices. Bonus: Bobblehead Nights are so in right now. I made most of my money back by going on a Clayton Kershaw Bobblehead Night and then selling the little guy on eBay. My ticket price was $38, and I sold the bobblehead for $35, thus enjoyed a night at the park for $3!
3. It’s Mostly Okay to Bring in Your Own Food
29 out of 30 teams allow some form of food and drinks in their ballpark (sorry Houston residents, but your Astros are the odd man out). You’ll want to check out your own team’s website, but for the most part it’s totally okay (and cheaper) to bring your own peanuts and cracker jacks. You’ll want to stay away from bringing in plastic coolers (padded one are okay) and also from anything hard that can be thrown at fans (glass bottles, cans, and the like). My family usually visits our local Subway or Jimmy Johns for some easy sandwiches to bring in. The day before, we’ll let our kids pick out their favorite snack at Walmart for a cheaper 7th inning stretch than those carts at the ballpark. Bonus: Check out your team’s website to see if they sell pre-paid parking tickets online. My Dodgers give a whopping $5 discount if you buy and print your parking pass online versus paying at the park.
Do you have any other tips for rooting on your team with a budget that fits?