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
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