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How to Save at Sporting Events

July 13, 2018 | By Daniel Dewitt

When you’re a fan, money can rank pretty low on your list of priorities. So caught up in the enthusiasm of your team, earthly concerns like paying rent or food or electricity can slip away when it comes time to buy tickets for the next hometown game. Only once you’ve gotten home or clicked the confirm button, does the rush wear off and you realize you may have to pull out credit cards or installment loans to afford it.

So do you have to pick between or the other? Between being a fan or being financially solvent? Of course not. We’re here today to walk you through how you can both support your team next time you go to the game and still come home to the lights on.

Don’t Bury Yourself In Merch

While it may seem like buying some merchandise for your team is harmless (and if you’re a diehard fan, sacrilegious not to show up decked out in) merchandise can be incredibly expensive compared to the value of what you’re getting if you subtract the team logos. Often the gear isn’t of particularly good quality, and you won’t use it more than once.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with buying a shirt or hat with your team’s logo emblazoned across it. But try and keep your spending to a single piece of merchandise per game: doing that will keep your money from leaving your pocket faster than it should.

Eat Before the Game

While getting a hot dog at the old ballgame is iconic and American as apple pie, the truth is that the vendors at sporting events make a killing off of what they sell to the captive audience. On top of that, the reality is that most food you can buy at a stadium is slathered with oil and salt and sugar and somehow still manages to taste like reheated cardboard, only without the advantage of having as few calories as cardboard.

Instead of wasting your money on such low quality food, just eat before you get to the game. It’s cheaper, and you won’t be as tempted to spend money on food with a full stomach. Better yet, eat at home or pack yourself lunch if you’re really on a threadbare budget.

Buy Good, Not Great, Tickets

There’s a prestige and hierarchy in a stadium when it comes to seating, and that hierarchy is both simple and reflected in the ticket prices: the closer to the field, the better the seats, the farther the worse. But that gradient line between quality and price isn’t linear, and there’s a distinct point of diminishing returns where the quality of the seats is only a slightly less than those before them, but are significantly less expensive.

If you’re looking to save money, that’s the spot you want to buy your tickets. They’re not always easy to spot and will vary from stadium to stadium, but if you want to save money without sacrificing quality, keep a keen eye on that gradient and pounce when the price is right.