If you’ve ever attended a big time sporting event, like the Superbowl or NCAA Men’s Final Four, then you’ve probably spent a good amount of money over face value for the tickets. Every year in the sporting world, there are 10-12 events that scalpers and ticket brokers can’t greedily anticipate. And when fans are desperate to attend the big game, they can end up spending more than five times the face value of the ticket.
For major sporting events that are played on the home team’s turf, like the NFL, NHL, NBA or MLB, then there are two ways to acquire tickets to playoff and championship games without spending more than a penny over face value.
Purchase A Season Ticket Plan for the Next Season: Nearly all professional sports teams will allow you to buy playoff and championship tickets at face value, if you also purchase a season ticket plan for the following season. This means that to save a few hundred dollars you might have to spend a few thousand. You might say that doesn’t make any sense, but you should think of your purchase for next year’s games as an investment. Chances are the team you want to see is in the playoffs because they had a great season, so next year, the fan base will increase. Your season tickets become more valuable when the demand for those tickets rises, and you should be able to sell your tickets without a hitch on places like eBay, StubHub, or other ticket engines. Plus, by having season tickets the following season, you have the right to purchase playoff tickets again next year, at face value.
Wake Up Bright and Early: After tickets have been deployed to the season ticket holders that want them and all of the corporate sponsors, then the public gets their chance. Usually, there are two ways to gobble up the remaining tickets. You can line up at the box office outside the stadium at least 24 hours before tickets go on sale OR grab some friends, go to the local library, and wait for tickets to go on sale online. You’re going to want a well connected location with a lot of computers because limiting yourself to one computer will also limit your chances of success. If you play the online game, know that high demand events usually are sold out within 5 minutes, so act fast.
For events that are played at neutral sites, such as the Superbowl, NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and BCS Football Championship, your chances of getting face value tickets are far worse. There’s only one way to wrangle tickets to these events:
Win The Lottery: After top notch season ticket holders, boosters, team members and corporate sponsors get their share of game tickets, only about 5% of tickets remain for the big game. The only way to gain access for a reasonable price is to win the lottery for these events, which is held over a year in advance. For most, this is not a solution because you have no idea if you want to attend the Superbowl next year. What if your beloved Pittsburgh Steelers don’t even make the playoffs that year? Well again, consider the purchase of these tickets as an investment because you should have little trouble unloading tickets for these events, and you do stand to gain a healthy 200-500% profit. To find how to enter the lottery for these events, simply visit the FAQ section of the leagues website, such as the NFL or NCAA.
But if you still can’t find the tickets you are looking for, then not to worry, there are still a few ways to find them, albeit for a few dollars more.
- eBay is your best remaining option as the price that tickets are sold is determined by the public demand. If no one cares about the event than tickets should go pretty cheap. If everyone wants to attend the game, however, then bidding wars can ensue. Make sure to only purchase from reputable buyers as many-a-scam can occur with event tickets
- Ticket brokers like StubHub, RazorGator, Ticket Network and TickCo should be your last option as those sites charge an arm, a leg, and a couple of toes on your other foot for tickets. Prices are set by the seller and a hefty fee is charged to both the buyer and seller. Depending on the event, tickets can be sold for 1000% over face value, making the decision to use these brokers an unwise one.
Published or updated March 15, 2013.