How to Save on Sporting Events

This time of year many people love getting together with family and friends, piling in the car and taking off to watch your favorite team score a dramatic win? Sports events are intoxicating – the energy of the crowd, seeing your favorite players up close and personal, and even the overpriced junk food has a certain appeal. Attending live sports events can get expensive in a hurry though. Score big savings on future games with the tips below.

Use your Email for Savings

Create a free email account and sign up with all of your favorite local sports teams and box offices (visit the team website and sign up for their email newsletter). You’ll be notified of upcoming games, special promotions and much more before anyone else even knows the event is going to happen. Many teams offer fan-only promotions that they send out to their mailing lists. It could be anything from members-only discount tickets, to a free kid’s night, free team apparel or a free hot dog.

Financing the Food

Unless you consider the hot dogs, peanuts, and sodas a truly important part of the sports experience, do everything you can to avoid buying food at the game itself. Eat before you go, sneak in a snack (we always take our own peanuts to baseball games!), make plans to meet up for a pre-game tailgating party or eat together at home once the game is over. Don’t make plans to go out to a restaurant after the game, or you’ll wind up spending almost as much as you would have at the event! You’ll save a considerable amount of money per person by not craving those nachos as the concession stand, and it shouldn’t affect your enjoyment of the game itself.

Don’t Drink Your Money Away

Depending on the venue, you may be able to carry in a bottle of water or soda. Some large arenas and ballparks will check your bags when you enter and make you toss out your bottle of water, but if this isn’t an issue where you live and someone is willing to carry a bag or a purse, you can save $5 per drink. Hold off on the beer til after the game. It’s pricey to drink alcohol at sporting events, so tell yourself you don’t need a beer to enjoy the game and instead get together with friends afterward to celebrate the victory with a couple beers from your own fridge.

Avoid the Merchandise Trap

Game merchandise is so hard to resist. Jerseys, foam hands, and other “official” products are all piled into a kiosk that calls your name the moment you walk by it. Young children are especially prone to wanting anything that flashes as they walk by. To avoid coming home with a ton of expensive disposable items, shop around before the game. Check out eBay, Craigslist, sporting goods stores clearance racks, and even your local toy store. Stash your treasures until the day of the game and then bring them out and give them to your family. Everyone will be just as happy, and you won’t come home with an empty wallet and a lot of regrets. And of course… if you go to a lot of games… save the treasures for the next game!

Watch it on TV

If the game is televised, why not buy some soda, hot dogs, and popcorn at the store and have “game night” at the house.  You’ll still get the benefit of family time if you make a night of it and get all the same food attractions as a concession stand, without concession stand prices.  Also, if you have a DVR, you’ll never miss the “play of the game”. During football season, you can trade off hosting a game-watching party with your friends and go to a different house every week. Many times, it’s more fun watching at home with a group where you can see every play clearly, avoid weather extremes, and show-off your game-calling skills.

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