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Save Money at Baseball Games

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Save Money at Baseball Games

Save Money at Baseball Games

Spring is here and the baseball season is underway. Today and the next two days, I'll be watching the Red Sox visit the Oakland A's at the Oakland Colosseum. The tickets were around $60 a piece, but at least they are among the best in the house.

Going to a major league baseball game is not cheap. When I lived in Boston (and was lucky enough to get tickets at face value) it would still cost $120 for even the worst seats. The problem was that the tickets for the season sell out in hours... and there's never enough phone lines to get through. If I wanted to watch a game I typically had to buy tickets on the secondary market - where prices can easily double. Some of the premium tickets at Fenway can go for $1000 or more - and that's just for a regular season game. That's obviously and extreme case, but still worth mentioning.

When you add in beer, hot dogs, and soda - it really gets expensive. It's not just the cost of tickets and concessions, there's souvenirs and parking (which for some premium games has been up to $100).

With all that in mind, here are some tips for enjoying baseball games even in an economy such as this one.

  • Watch your favorite team in another city - This is what I'm doing to save money (well same money, but much better seats) the next few days. I'm fortunate to be living in a place where the home team has plenty of tickets available. The other idea here is to plan a summer vacation around the baseball schedule of your favorite team. Washington D.C. can be an extremely fun and educational vacation - and you can catch the Red Sox and Yankees play the Orioles there. It's a pretty fast and cheap flight from Southwest.
  • Eat before the game or bring your own food - Many people might not know it, but many ballparks allow you to bring your own food to the game. Fenway Park has a long list of items of not allowed, but food is not listed. For drinks, you might be limited to juice boxes since they prohibit glass and plastic. Some of the people I'm going to the game with tomorrow are bringing Passover friendly food.
  • Public transportation is your friend - Whether I go to games in Boston or in Oakland, I've found that it is much cheaper to drive near the game and take public transportation the rest of the way than it is to park. I also noticed that I get home quicker because I've avoided the traffic at the end of the game.
  • Get souvenirs in advance (not at the game) - Souvenirs of call kinds are going to be more expensive. I went to a Celtics' Finals game last year and instead of paying for a shirt there, I stopped by T.J. Maxx and picked up a perfect "Beat LA" shirt. If you have more time, there are some great shirts that can be had on Ebay or other fan websites. You'll save money and be appropriately dressed for tailgating.
  • Think about the weather - Some games are a sunburn threat. Other games are a hypothermia threat. Some are both. For day games, grab a strong sun block, and bring a blanket for the night games.
  • Consider minor league baseball - This won't work if your favorite team is a major league team, but if you are a fan of just watching baseball, there are great savings to be had. I went to a Modesto A's game a few years ago and though I had no real investment in the results of the game, it was a great experience. The tickets and food were reasonable. They had giveaways every inning. They even had dollar drafts for an inning.

In years past, I've watched over 130 Red Sox games on television. This year, with the games ending around 7PM local time, I'm not sure if I'm going to catch as money. It's why I'm going to make the most of the games I can.

Image Credit: wallyg

Last updated on June 17, 2016.

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12 Responses to “Save Money at Baseball Games”

  1. Last year, the Dodgers had an “eat yourself to death” section. well, they didn’t call it that, but you paid extra for the ticket and could pig out on all the food you wanted. It was a considerable premium for the ticket ($25ish extra?) but you could eat your way to a profit if you wanted.

    A Yankees friend of mine (sorry about that, Lazy, but I work with the guy) who lives in Illinois went to Yankees/Royals games in KC last year. The tickets were MUCH cheaper than in NY, and he says it was still almost like a home game. They were invited to some tailgating before/after the games by some other Yankee fans.

    KC actually had the foresight to put a parking lot right between the Royals stadium and Chiefs stadium – getting twice the bang for the public buck with that parking lot.

    The $1000 tickets are crazy. I’d rather have forty $25 tickets than one $1000 ticket, any day. The $1000 tickets are usually in those crazy private boxes anyway – no chance of catching a foul ball :(

    The parking fees really grind my gears, to quote Peter Griffin. Seriously, you need an extra $20ish from me to park for 5ish hours? For a bleeping piece of asphalt?

    The minors are great. When I lived near Peoria, Ill, I would catch 20+ games a year (it was a 30 mile drive – if I had been in the city, I would have caught more). Seeing Albert Pujols in A ball was cool. He was a man among boys. Back then, you could get a primo seat (behind the plate, 4-5 rows back) for $6. Free parking. Now they have a new stadium. Prices are higher and parking is no longer free, but it’s still a good deal.

    I live ~800 miles from my favorite team (Rockies) and they’re not a media sweetheart like the Sox, so I’m relegated to listening to them over the internet.

    The time zone thing gets me the opposite way that it gets you. The Rockies play a lot of game in the Pacific Time Zone – and Arizona is also two hours behind me due not observing DST. So there are a lot of games that start at 9 PM my time … and my wakeup time is 5:30 :)

    FYI – if you go to any Modesto games this year, keep an eye on catcher Wilin Rosario. Big upside on the kid.

  2. Lazy Man says:

    My wife and I went to the A’s version of “eat yourself to death” to watch a Red Sox game. I want to say they were about $20 more than usual tickets. They are high behind home plate if you care.

    The $1000 tickets I was referring two were actually what my friend got for Red Sox-Yankee Monster seats (first year they had them), during the Democratic National Convention. All the stars were aligned, but he might have actually gotten $1250 a ticket for them.

  3. guinness416 says:

    Get tickets through work if you can (or suggest the office buys some tickets). Most of our Yankees (and Mets) tickets during my NYC years were gotten from subcontractors.

    See them elsewhere is great advice. Especially when you follow glamour teams like the Yanks and Red Sox who have bandwagon fans everywhere. And day trips are fun!

    “Don’t bring your kids” is another one I (a non-parent) would add. They seem to get bored and cranky after the first inning. Ever see people fall over themselves buying more and more junk food and souveniers to shut the little brats up so they can watch the game? I always feel sorry for the parents, must cost a fortune.

    Re the “all you can eat” promo mentioned above – the Blue Jays recently cancelled their $2 tuesdays because of the mayhem that ensued. So I’m not sure what promos we’ll get here in TO this year …

  4. Craig says:

    Another suggestion would be to see your team play on an off day or against a bad team. This way you can see your team play, but there will be more chances of tickets being available and for lesser costs. Eating beforehand is smart, very expensive inside.

  5. I’m not a particular fan of any team as football is my game of choice, so going to a minor league game is great for me and I can usually get tickets for free from work. So, my only cost is food while I’m there and the aggravation of traffic when I try to leave. But, I will say there is something about a hot dog from the stands of an exciting game surrounding by your friends and fellow fans. It’s probably the best tasting hot dog ever, even if it’s sure to do damage to you internally! LOL. I don’t think I could bring myself to bring food to the game – especially since I’m saving on the tickets!

  6. Yeah, baseball hot dogs are great. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!

    Well, sometimes it causes high cholesterol and chronic heart disease and kills you slowly, but usually it makes you stronger.

    :)

  7. Good pieces of advice and tips to follow to save some money…or at least not to overpay for the tickets. A lot should be thought over before the game to feel comfortable at the event. Though I think I would not go to a minor competition as it is much more interesting to be at something special and pompous!

  8. Enrique S says:

    One of my coworkers is a die-hard Red Sox fan (I like the Yankees). Rather than going to Fenway or Yankee Stadium to see the Red Sox, he flies from Long Island to Baltimore, and catches the game at Camden Yards. It’s still cheaper!

  9. mapgirl says:

    “Washington D.C. can be an extremely fun and educational vacation – and you can catch the Red Sox and Yankees play the Orioles there. It’s a pretty fast and cheap flight from Southwest.”

    What are you talking about? The Orioles play at Camden Yards in Baltimore. BWI is the nearest airport and it is serviced by Southwest.

    However, Washington, DC has the Nationals and a new stadium. (I’m not sure if they are NL or AL, but I hate them so I don’t care.) The nearest airport is Reagan National (DCA). While you can get to DC from BWI, it takes about an hour by nearly any means of transport.

    Just sayin’. You might want to edit that. :-)

  10. mapgirl says:

    BTW, the reason why DC took forever to get the Nationals is because the owner of the O’s (Pete Angelos) did not want to dilute his baseball market share and blocked a team from coming to DC for many, many years.

    So be mindful when saying the O’s play in DC. They most certainly do not unless they are playing an inter-league game against the Nats.

    ROFL. (Really, I am not a baseball fan. I just know a little too much about Mr. Angelos’ greed.)

  11. DebtGoal says:

    These tips are critical for the budget-sensitive family looking for quality entertainment in the upcoming summer months. Thanks.

  12. Helix says:

    Red Sox fan? Good man! I also lived in Boston until two years ago (now live in the DC area). I love going to O’s games – it’s Fenway South! I can’t wait to see them against the Nats in interleague play this year.

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