Saving Money on Sports Tickets

As I type this, I’m watching the Miami Heat play the Indiana Pacers in some exciting game 7 basketball. It’s a tied game, but it’s still early. Honestly, it hasn’t been the greatest basketball game so far. The Pacers are turning the ball over a ton, and the Heat’s shooting is colder than the outside of Santa’s workshop during January. But that’s okay, because it’s game 7, and pretty much nothing beats game 7.

If you’re anything like me, you watch a ton of sports. If it wasn’t for sports, I think I could pretty easily ditch my satellite TV for good, since I could just easily get DVDs of whole seasons of my favorite shows from the library. Or I could even watch them on my laptop, even though watching TV on a 14 inch screen isn’t exactly my optimal viewing experience. I finally upgraded to a 21st century TV a few months ago, so I’ve gotta get my money’s worth.

There’s only one thing better than sports on TV, and that’s live sports. Oh baby, nothing beats live sports. The atmosphere is buzzing. The food is delicious. There’s always the chance you’ll see something amazing. As any sports fan can attest, live sports are fantastic, even compared to high definition screen.

But, going to live sports is expensive. I can’t even imagine how much tickets cost to the aforementioned game 7, but I’d imagine even the cheap seats would be going for north of $100, and court side seats would be pushing $1000. We’re a frugal bunch, so nuts to that. Here’s how you can save some cash while still checking out your favorite team.

Use Stubhub

Everybody is familiar with Stubhub, right? They’re an online marketplace where people can sell their unused tickets. While in New York last year, I snagged Yankees tickets for less than half their face value, just by being patient and waiting until a couple of weeks before my visit.

You have to use Stubhub intelligently. I looked for tickets during a day game, and against a less popular rival, two conditions that significantly reduced demand for the tickets I wanted. The world of ticket resales is very dependent on supply and demand.

Buy Singles

Want to see the game so desperately that you’ll ditch your friend to do it? Then start searching for single tickets, which professional resellers will often discount significantly just to get rid of them. Stubhub is a great place to look for these too. One of the best parts of Stubhub is a map of the venue that will let you easily find single tickets.

Or, do what I did. While in Las Vegas recently, I wanted to watch the Pac-12 college basketball tournament. I walked over to the venue, and was promptly harassed by many ticket scalpers. I quickly located a fan who had bought tickets for the whole tournament, but was much more interested in gambling than watching that night’s action. I got his single ticket for less than half of face value, leaving me more cash to spend on overpriced popcorn.

Go To Alternative Games

Watching professional sports can be expensive, especially if you’re watching a really popular team. One of the easiest ways to avoid paying the big bucks is making alternative choices. Instead of watching MLB baseball, go check out some AAA action instead. You can probably get a ticket for $10, the food is considerably cheaper, and less people mean a greater chance of a foul ball.

Plus, if you’re like me and you live away from a major city, going into the city to watch the game is a big ordeal. I have to drive two hours to the arena, two hours back, plus I have to pay for parking, snacks, and then the tickets. And that’s just going in with a friend. I’d be in the poor house in about a day and a half if I was dragging kids to the game.

Public Transportation

You know what’s an easy way to save $10 or $15 for parking? Take public transportation to the game. Most arenas offer all sorts of options, and cities will often have more buses and subways running to accommodate the influx of people. Plus, the parking lot right after a professional sporting event is the worst traffic jam ever.


Every now and again, you’ll get the chance to go to an amazing sporting event. You’ll manage to score World Series tickets, or you’ll find a way to watch your favorite team during the playoffs. If you do, then you’ll have the money to spend on the amazing opportunity, since you saved money by getting cheaper tickets earlier. Enjoy the game.

Editor’s Note: The Pacers lost in a blowout of 76 to 99.

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