Money-Saving Tips For Sports Fans
Until the recession eases, a lot of us are going to think twice before shelling out the big bucks necessary to watch a live professional sporting event. But that doesn't mean we have to go cold turkey. It just takes a little more creative thinking.
1. Consider Alternative Sports
While NFL, NBA and NHL teams grab the lion's share of TV advertising time (and therefore viewers' attention) there are lower-cost sports to consider checking out, such as tennis. Maybe a trip across the pond to Wimbledon is beyond your budget, but regional tennis matches will feature the same players.
2. Check Out Charity Events and "Champion" Tours
Often charity events, which make the majority of their proceeds from corporate sponsorships and donations, will sell reasonably priced tickets to the public. For example, you can check out 16-time LPGA golf pro Jan Stephenson competing at the Wendy's Charity Classic August 9-10 for just $10.
3. Watch Minor League Teams
Minor league teams are the "farm teams" for professional organizations. This is where young talent is groomed, so if you can't afford a ticket to see an Oakland Athletics game, why not catch a nearby AAA Sacramento RiverCats game (the As' farm team) for much less? Baltimore Orioles fans can watch some future Orioles players with the AA Bowie Baysox. You'll save some money and be able to say you saw them play before they hit the big time!
4. Go To Training Camp Or Pre-Season Workouts
While baseball fans are well-known for flocking to catch a glimpse of their favorite players at spring training, other sports are catching on to this trend. For example, the Washington Redskins open their training camp practices to fans free of charge and the Seattle Seahawks have invited fans to register on Seahawks.com to watch their practices for just $5. Check out all the NFL training camp schedules on the NFL's website.
5. Split A Season Ticket Package With a Friend
If you can't pony up for the full price of a ticket package, find a friend to go in on it with you, splitting up the home and away games. This way, you can head to some of the games yourself - and hit up your friend for the highlights you missed the next day.
6. Call The Box Office
Teams know that the recession has hit their fans' wallets and are responding with promotions to get those fans in the door. Call the box office to see if your favorite team is running any specials. For example, marketing phenom and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has lowered the price of 50% of all tickets for the 09-10 season, offering about 4,500 priced at $19 or lower. Last year, the New Jersey Nets gave unemployed fans free tickets and offered a "buy now, pay later" payment plan for ticket buyers. Major league baseball (MLB) and soccer (MLS) fans have a leg-up here – the MLB website's "Fan Value Corner" and the MLS website's "Net Savings" list every team's special deals and discounts for the season.
7. Check Out Your Local Warehouse Club
SmartCircle offers LA Galaxy package deals (including two free tickets and four buy-one-get-one-free tickets) for $29.99. Similarly, Costco offers Family Packs for Oakland A's games (four tickets for $40 compared to $96 at the gate). (For more about shopping at these discount retailers, see The Dark Side Of Bulk Buying.)
8. Think Younger
Can't afford to make it out to a professional sporting event? Why not become a fan for your nearby college team? Tickets for most collegiate sports - even big-time football schools - can be obtained for MUCH less than their professional counterparts.
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