9 ways you’re wasting money at professional sports games

Turns out, it IS possible to have a fun day at the stadium without breaking the bank.

Josh Donaldson
Flickr | Keith Allison

Go out to the ballgame. Buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks… and an overpriced beer and offensively expensive hot dog. Before too long, that night out at the ballpark gets pretty expensive.

Don’t want to completely strike out on your budget? We’ve got 9 ways (hey, we’re sticking with a theme here) you can save at the ballpark this summer or the football stadium this fall.

1. You’re only considering major league games

If you can name every player on the roster, and know whether they’re right or left-handed and what song plays when they come out to bat, skip this one and go directly the Major League Baseball park.

But if you’re a casual baseball fan who enjoys a night outside with some baseball playing out in the background, your money might be better spent at a minor league game. They cost less, but are big fun. In fact, they’re even more fun than MLB fields in some cases. Case-in-point: The Nashville Sounds’ stadium has every type of lawn game imaginable, a putt-putt course and Whiskey and Coke slushies that you can slurp on while playing Jenga.

minor league baseball photo
Getty Images | Sasha Haagensen

2. You’re buying tickets to weekend games

Tickets in the middle of the week tend to be less expensive than those weekend games that garner higher attendance. If you’ve got some flexibility with your work schedule, you might have some luck scoring super cheap tickets for those weekday daytime games.

night ballpark photo
Flickr | randomduck

3. You’re not looking at the roster

Again, for the more casual baseball fan, you’ll score cheaper tickets if you don’t mind watching your team take on an opponent that’s not faring too well this season. Also, keep in mind that rival teams command higher ticket prices.

mlb photo
Getty Images | Andy King

4. You’re buying individual tickets

Every team in the MLB (and pretty much any major league sport, for that matter) offers game packs. These are typically good for four people, and include tickets and food from the concession stands. Don’t have a family of four? Go on a double date.

baseball stands photo
Getty Images | Jonathan Daniel

5. You’re driving to the stadium

That parking lot that typically costs $5? Talk about sticker shock when you arrive downtown and noticed it’s jumped to $20 when your team is playing. Oof. Do a little comparison shopping when it comes to your transportation options. Do you have a lightrail or train option in your city? Even a ride-share like Uber might be cheaper than paying for gas and parking. Your rideshare app will give you an estimate of how much it will cost to get you to and from the game. You can usually shave a few bucks off by opting for the “carpool” option that allows the driver to pick up more passengers on the way to the game. Also, keep surge pricing in mind. If you can leave an inning early or stick around awhile after the game, your fare might drop some.

uber photo
Getty Images | Oli Scarff

6. You’re buying food at the stadium

This is probably the lowest hanging fruit when it comes to saving at the ballpark. The concession stands are notorious for hiking up prices on food and drinks. But did you know the majority of ballparks allow some food and drink items into the park, so long as you’re not bringing in alcohol or glass? The Houston Astros perhaps have the most stringent food policy, but still the stadium allows you to bring food in as long as it’s confined to a clear, one-gallon sized bag. If you’re thinking about sneaking alcohol in, know that your bags go through an inspection. You didn’t hear it from us, but here’s some genius flasks that hide alcohol.

baseball food photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

7. You’re buying a team t-shirt at the stadium

Bad idea: Waiting until you’re in the stadium to buy fan gear. Better idea: Buying it from the store ahead of time. Genius idea: Scouring your local thrift stores. You might even find a vintage gem that will give you some real fan credentials.

baseball tshirt photo
Getty Images | Jamie Squire

8. You’re being a boring fan

This idea might not save you money per se, but it could make you some. Be that fan that’s decked out in home team gear and flaunting those crazy dance moves. That way you’re a magnet for the Jumbotron. Who knows, you could get picked to compete in one of those silly games that happen in game breaks and win some cash or tickets to future games.

crazy baseball fan photo
Flickr | tinou bao

9. You’re buying straight from the team website

If you can wait until the day of the game, season ticket holders will oftentimes unload some of their tickets into the resale market (think: sites like StubHub and Ticketmaster Ticket Exchange). You can usually snap those up for cheaper than face value.

baseball tickets photo
Getty Images | Doug Pensinger

 

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