There are 5 1/2 weeks before the World Series begins on Oct. 19 – plenty of time to go to a baseball game on the cheap with deals found by guest writer Andrew Kardon of JoeShopping.com.
It’s a summertime rite of passage: pack up the kids, trek to the ballpark and show your family why baseball is America’s Pastime. With ticket prices dropping along with game attendance, it’s easier than ever to have a great time at the ballpark and leave with money in your wallet. Use these 10 tips for great deals on tickets, souvenirs, concessions and more.
Save the Date – When shopping for tickets, remember that night games, weekend games and games held over the summer will all be more expensive than weekday games or games held in the spring or fall. Also pay attention to who your home team is playing–rival teams will be a big draw, and ticket prices increase accordingly.
DON’T Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack – Skip the expensive concessions and pack sandwiches, if your stadium allows. Policies vary widely. SafecoField, home of the Seattle Mariners, allows outside food but no drinks. YankeeStadium in New York lets you bring in food, drink cartons and water bottles, but no cooler. NationalsPark in Washington allows small coolers but limits outside drinks to one bottle of water per person.
Freebies – You may not catch a home run ball from your favorite player, but there are plenty of other freebies to be had at baseball games. Many teams allow fans to line up for autographs from the players before the game. (Check your team’s website for details.) And many give free sodas for designated drivers–just ask at guest services.
You Had Me at Bobblehead – Buy tickets for your favorite team’s souvenir day, usually available to the first several thousand fans: free bags, bats, banners, even teddy bears and bobbleheads.
It’s Out of the Park(ing Lot) – Parking at the stadium lot can run you 10 to 35 bucks or more! Save on parking by taking mass transit, or consider parking farther away from the stadium. Walk 10 minutes and you can easily save a pretty penny on parking.
Buy Direct – Avoid Ticketmaster and other fees by going directly to the stadium to purchase your tickets. “Convenience” and handling charges really add up when you’re buying tickets for the entire family.
Buy Indirect – Don’t forget to check out third-party ticket resellers, like Stubhub.com. These resellers offer tickets significantly below face value. Sometimes the prices are cheaper the closer you get to game day, so check often.
Root Root Root for the Home Team – It pays to check out the special promotions for your hometown team and take advantage of their budget-friendly deals. The Atlanta Braves sell $5 tickets for lower-level seating on Monday games; you save almost 80%. The Washington Nationals have family fun days for Saturday and Sunday games; the family package starts at $14 a ticket and includes a hot dog, chips and a drink.
Think Local – Instead of going to the majors, check out a minor league game. The games are very kid-oriented and fun for the family. You’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the sport’s rising stars, or watch a pro or two coming back after injury.
Andrew Kardon is the president and co-founder ofJoeShopping.com, a social shopping site dedicated to saving money through coupons, hot deals, price comparisons, product reviews, shopping blogs and more.