Until the economy turns around, many people are staying home instead of heading out to see their favorite live bands in concert, their favorite teams play a home game or attend their favorite annual tournaments. While some professional teams are cutting ticket prices this year to be more fan-friendly, there are many steps you can take save even more money on tickets. Check out a few of our best tips:
- Get Social
Use all those social networking platforms to your advantage. Tweet, update your Facebook status and let your Ning or Yahoo! Group partners know you're in need. If you're well-connected, you may find a good ticket at a great price! (For more insight, see Cheap Tweets: Followorthy Deals On Twitter.)
- Use Points
If your credit card awards you points for purchases and transactions, consider using some of them to buy your tickets. It can feel like you're getting the tickets for free! Check with your card company to see if it's running specials. For example, Citi is partnering with concert promoter LiveNation to sell cardholders big-name concert tickets at hundreds of venues this summer for just $5. (Find out what else your credit card can do for you. Read Credit Card Perks You Never Knew You Had.)
- Compare Ticket Seller Offers
This summer, ticket seller LiveNation is offering "No Service Fee Wednesday" specials; the company also runs a four-pack special and local specials, featuring cheap concert tickets in your market. When buying tickets online, ensure that you are buying through an authorized ticket seller for the event, rather than a reseller. Reseller companies and websites purchase blocks of tickets, mark them up and then sell them to unsuspecting customers for prices much higher than face value.
- Call the Venue
If the venue where the event is taking place sells tickets at its on site box office, call to see if it's offering any specials before buying online.
- Become a Fan
Fan clubs often offer special advance notice of shows, the opportunity to buy discounted tickets or even the option to buy straight from the source, allowing members to avoid costly service fees. According to LiveNation, service fees tend to make up about one-third of the total cost of a ticket. There are many fees when you buy through a ticket service, such as shipping and handling fees, print-at-home fees, delivery fees, etc. Eliminate those and it's like saving 33% on your tickets!
If you really can't afford the ticket, consider volunteering as an event usher. Sure, you'll have to stand during the event and do a little light work showing people to their seats, but you'll get to enjoy the performance at a price that's hard to beat.
- Turn on the Radio
No, not to mope at home and listen while your favorite band performs live somewhere else. Instead, call your local radio stations to see if they're doing ticket giveaways - then sign up for any draws or contests. While the odds aren't really in your favor, this option is free and could net you tickets at no cost.
- Buy "Used"
Websites like eBay and Stubhub are online reselling outlets where people can sell tickets they have already purchased. Depending on the popularity of the event, you may be able to pay less for tickets, particularly if the seller is just trying to offload them and is willing to give up any fees paid, or even lower the price to below face value. Stubhub even offers promotional codes that you can enter to get a discount on an already more affordably-priced ticket.
- Clip a Coupon
There are numerous sites like CouponCraze.com and RetailMeNot.com that provide you with online coupon codes that you can save or download and then use over the phone, in person or online when you're purchasing tickets. (For related reading, see Coupon Shopping: Clip Your Way To Savings.)
- Befriend the Concierge
If you're traveling, check with a local travel agent or do some research through an online travel service to see if any deals are available. Agents may have access to discounted tickets. If you're staying at a hotel ask the concierge desk about acquiring tickets to a local event. Concierges, especially ones working at higher-end hotels, have numerous local connections that could pay off with a good ticket price.
- Ask Around
Does your sister-in-law work for FedEx (NYSE:FDX)? She might be able to help you get good tickets to a Redskins game at FedEx field or to the FedEx Orange Bowl. The same goes for that uncle who works for Staples (Nasdaq:SPLS) if you're looking to head to L.A. to catch a Lakers game. Companies that sponsor arenas, teams and tournaments often make tickets available to their employees.
- Buy a Block
Some websites and ticket outlets will give you a discount if you buy a larger block of tickets, which you can then sell to interested friends and family members or online through sites like eBay and Stubhub. You'll save a little money and maybe even ensure some good seat mates.
- Swap for It
If you have tickets to a show or event you're not dying to attend, see if you can swap them with someone who holds the tickets you're looking for. If you don't know someone personally, use sites like TicketSwap.biz, where you can anonymously post an offer for a ticket and then share information on the ticket you're willing to fork over. Be sure you research the ticket price so that you're not taken to the cleaners.
- Find a Forum
Die-hard fans use online forums and message boards to talk about, and do business over, their favorite teams, bands, actors and more. Do a Google or Yahoo search for a forum and see if you can strike a ticket deal with another fan.
- Hold the Phone
Many ticket brokers will tack on higher fees for taking your order over the phone, so opt to buy in person or online. You can use the money you save for a T-shirt, CD or foam finger instead.
- Search Smart
Use a ticket search aggregator site like BookMe.com. Just enter your search parameters (i.e. "Jonas Brothers Concert" or "HipHop in Seattle") - the site acts as a search engine combing through all of the online ticket distributors for tickets. It's an easy way to compare prices and make sure you're getting the best deal available.
It's not impossible to enjoy your favorite pastimes - with just a little work you can find a ticket price you can afford!