Baseball Tickets Become Affordable Again As Recession Hits Scalpers

Following up on yesterday’s roundup of recession-related deals, here is an article from Forbes on how scalpers, season ticket holders, and teams themselves are cutting deals on baseball tickets, with below-cost tickets, BOGO deals, and cheap food.

Even StubHub has some cheap tickets, with tickets to some Western and Central Division games going for less than half face value. Of course, if you’re trying to go to a tiny, historic stadium like Wrigley or Fenway, you’re not going to have much luck (although we’ve always been able to get into Fenway for relatively cheap by scanning craigslist the day of the game).

Besides checking out these deals, we have two more tips for baseball fans looking to save money:

Growing up in between the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets, we were often unable to convince our family to go see any of these teams because of all the supplemental expenses like parking, food, and drinks (as a result, we caught quite a few Bridgeport Bluefish games). When we moved to DC, we were thrilled to learn that both the Orioles and Nationals let fans bring in their own food and (non-alcoholic) drink, which cuts down on costs significantly. We wonder how many other stadiums do this. Update: Apparently Fenway and Yankee Stadium, as well as several other stadiums, allow this, so it turns out our parents were just making excuses not to drive up to Boston.

Check out the minor or independent leagues. This is a good way to see up and coming players, current stars rehabbing from injuries, and has beens. We mentioned the Bridgeport Bluefish before: we watched them play the Long Island Ducks a few years ago and were amazed to see John Rocker on the mound.

(Photo: Jeremy ES)

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  1. pervy_the_clown says:

    I’m an avid Mets fan, and I know they let you bring in anything you want, except glass bottles.

    As for your suggestion of going to minor league games (I may be slightly biased here) but I don’t agree. I’ve been to several minor league games, the cyclones are practically in my backyard, but it doesn’t compare at all to the Major Leagues. It’s hard to CARE about the minor league team, while (at least for me) my heart is in the Mets. Minor league games may be ok for non-baseball fans, but for anyone who likes the game, nothing compares to the MLB.

  2. t0ph says:

    A few weeks ago, I got $140 face value tickets for The Met’s at $75 apiece on StubHub of all places…

  3. nybiker says:

    Not having the time to look into the main question, I will venture a guess and say that except for the 2 teams you mentioned, nobody else lets you bring in anything to eat or drink; at least not as a matter of policy. You might be able to convince a ticket-taker that you have some specific reason for the food you’re attempting to bring in, but otherwise, I doubt it. Even the indie leagues frown on it. But of course there you are paying way less to get in, so the expensive food and drink don’t hurt as much.

    • calquist says:

      @nybiker: You could always dress up like a pregnant lady and hide 79, 89 and 99 cent nachos in your fake baby.

      • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

        @calquist: I work for the Giants and here in San Francisco fans can bring in their own food and plastic drink containers as long as they are sealed. As a baseball fan since I was a child I found that most ballparks I’ve visited have adopted a similar policy to help consumers save money and to accomodate those with dietary restrictions.

    • Guvmint_Cheese says:

      @nybiker: Safeco Field (Seattle) lets you bring in food, but not beverages. There’s a lot of really good vendors just outside the stadium too, and the prices are somewhat better than inside. Beer is going to cost you plenty though.

    • edison234 says:

      @nybiker: Great American Ballpark – Cincinnati – they let you bring in food and sealed bottles of water.

    • rufus1001 says:

      @nybiker: I know Wrigley Field also lets you bring in at least some things. There are lots of bottled water and peanut guys milling around outside the stadium, so I’m certain you’re good with those things, and I’ve even brought my own lemonade in before. No booze though, I’m fairly certain.

    • milrtime83 says:

      @nybiker: Miller Park also allows food and unopened non-alcoholic beverages.

    • tackhouse1 says:

      @nybiker:

      US Cellular (Comiskey, White Sox) allows you to bring in food and bottled water.

      • eakwave1 says:

        @tackhouse1: Thanks! Hubby and I are in San Francisco and huge fans (he’s from Chicago) and we’ll be going soon. It’ll always be Comiskey to him.

        See ya soon, Paulie and A.J.!

  4. nrich239 says:

    Also, an added bonus is that minor/independent league teams may be much closer than a MLB stadium. Delaware – Blue Rocks or the Shorebirds versus going to Philly or Baltimore.

  5. Darrone says:

    From the Bridgeport Bluefish to the Natinals…. That’s a steep downgrade.

  6. Aeroracere says:

    You can bring your own food into Fenway… I do it all the time!

    • Michael Corbett says:

      @Aeroracere: I thought they stopped this after 9/11. Did they stop and then allow it again?

    • Alex Chasick says:

      @Aeroracere: Combine this with the above comment about Yankee Stadium allowing food (the new one at least, don’t know about the old one), it sounds like my parents were just lying to me all these years because they are just huge Bluefish fans.

  7. calquist says:

    Wrigley tickets might not ever be cheap to find, but you save a bundle on never having to fork over major cash to see them in the World Series.

  8. coren says:

    I love some good non-alcoholic food!

    (you guys listed food twice in the article =) )

  9. wayneschmidt says:

    I love the Oakland Athletics, $40 is the most expensive seat. You can bring your own food and drink in a soft sided cooler (no glass or aluminum or alcohol) plus the $14 for parking can be avoided if you take the BART system. I believe Oakland’s price are on par with minor league teams prices.

    • Starfury says:

      @wayneschmidt:

      We usually will go to at least one A’s game for the fireworks show. Because there’s 4 of us we drive; Bart would cost 2x the gas/parking costs. We always bring food in so don’t have to spend extra $$.

    • humphrmi says:

      @wayneschmidt: Boy that’s a great deal. But then after all that, you end up watching an A’s game.

      I Kid!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Cleveland Indians allow food and drink as long as the drinks are in plastic and of the non-alcoholic variety.

    As for the Cubs, the best way to score a ticket is to wait for the game to start and then hit up the scalpers who are desperate to unload their inventory. Also, avoid the bleacher seats if possible; not only are they overpriced on the streets, but the bleachers are packed with ‘fans’ who started drinking several hours before the first pitch and the section is isolated from the rest of the stadium, so no walking around to see the rest of the stadium.

  11. Joeb5 says:

    miller pack is nice place to see the cubes and it is easier to get in and find parking then Wrigley.

    • nybiker says:

      @Joeb5: Who are the Cubes? And where is miller Pack? I am guessing you are referring to the Cubs and Miller Park, in which case, nevermind the question.

  12. Scott Reiter says:

    You can bring your own food to Mets games. Always could, you just have to wait in the longer line to have your bags inspected. and drink bottles need to be sealed.

  13. chiieddy says:

    Somehow doubt Fenway tickets are included in this… sigh.

    • milrtime83 says:

      @chiieddy: Did this line give it away?….”Of course, if you’re trying to go to a tiny, historic stadium like Wrigley or Fenway, you’re not going to have much luck “

  14. Craig Brown says:

    You have always been able to bring in your own food to Yankee Stadium. It just has to be in a plastic bag. Water bottles can come in also, they just make you take off the top. (bring extras)

    Usually a $5 footlong and a 24oz Poland Spring is all I need for the game.

  15. Berz says:

    I’m going to pimp my hometown team here for a sec, but only because of the deals.

    Ive gone to about 4 Royals games so far this season, and it has cost more to park than it has for admissions. Parking was 9 and my ticket was 7(outfield, standing).Though there is a bar we go into and sit along a deck, no cover charge to get in. On buck nights peanuts, soft drinks, and hotdogs are a dollar each. 10 bucks will get you 3 hotdogs, peanuts, and a large beer.

    Royals have always had great deals, but it’s because we have sucked for so long. I finally have a bit of hope about their season this year.

    • nybiker says:

      @Berz: Wow, $9 to park. I’m guessing the mets & yankees patrons who drive would just about sell off their second born to get such a good rate. (They have already sold off their first born to get the tickets to the games).

  16. RandomHookup says:

    I used to work right by Fenway Park. I can’t feel sorry for the scalpers who would hit me up for extra tickets at 10 in the morning.

  17. JohnAllison says:

    I would much rather see the free market eliminate scalpers altogether. The faster tickets go, the higher the price. Tickets sold early go for cheap and as the house fills up the price increases. The scalpers would price themselves out of the market.

    It would be an auction. If the scalpers purchased tickets at their maximum value then their profit margins would be too slim to make any money, essentially putting them out of business.

    • XTC46 says:

      @JohnAllison: Your method would ADD scalpers. They would come in first, buy a huge number of the cheap tickets, then profit as the prices rise as the house fills. It would INCREASE their profit since they can dedicate the time to get tickets first, then sell for below the high face value and still turn a profit once sold out.

  18. anduin says:

    wow you americans REALLY love your baseball and good to see the stadiums making life easy for you. Being a Canadian, hockey is shoved down our throats on every sports channel. I went to an Oilers game once and brought a small unopened bottle of water (287 ml), they MADE me throw it in the garbage and the same bottle cost $5 at the concession. Tickets were like $120 on a non full night, its just jokes all around, needless to say Id never go back to a game ever again but the rest of Canada disagrees with me.

  19. Anonymous says:

    BoSox fans should check out the scalpfree zone. There is an area near the park where ticket holders can sell unneeded tix at facevalue, have a Red Sox employee verify the ticket and then walk right into the park. Even though you pay face value, it is a way to spontaneously get terrific seats.

    A friend sat 5 rows behind homeplate for a beautiful Sunday Yankees Red Sox game. Perfect seat to watch homeplate get stolen.

    Hard to believe it works….but it does!

    Maybe the Yankees could learn a few from the Sox….like how to win and how to take care of their fans.

  20. nybiker says:

    I thank the above commenters who have enlightened me as to which parks/fields/stadiums allow fans to bring in food and beverages.

    That being said, with all the naming rights problems associated with MLB (& other sports) the odds are long that I will be actually attending a game at one of those joints.

  21. sanjsrik says:

    Staten Island freakin’ Yankees man, a season ticket costs less than one box seat at Yankees stadium AND it’s more fun for kids AND has a better view.

  22. layton59 says:

    There is a website that tells the best deals on going to MLB games, parking etc. It is called BALLPARKSAVVY.C_M They are trying to do every team over time. They started with the Cincy Reds and Great American (Insurance) Ball Park (GABP).