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Don't Let High Ticket Prices Keep You From Seeing The "Big" Game
by: Jeff Howard

Don't Let High Ticket Prices Keep You From Seeing The "Big" Games
By Jeff Howard

Have you ever dreamed about seeing a big sports event like the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four, or Daytona 500 in person? If so, what kept you from realizing your dream?

Before you answer that one, let me demonstrate how the typical fan tries to buy tickets. I'll use the Indianapolis 500 as an example. As I write this the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing" is a few weeks away.

Since many fans don't start thinking about tickets until weeks, or months, before the event, it's very possible some are just now deciding they want to see this race.

Even at this late date, there are still a few tickets available directly from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but rest assured the choice seats are long gone.

There's good news, however.

A quick Internet search shows there are are plenty of good seats available. At one popular ticket broker site, they range in price from $65 to $645 each depending on track location. According to the official Indianapolis 500 website, these same tickets have a face value of $40 to $90 each. So, if you buy your tickets from a broker, you'll end up paying 2, 3, or 4 times face value.

Not so good news.

Before I get back to my original question, let me say this. If you're independently wealthy, go ahead and buy your tickets from a broker since money isn't an issue. However, if you're like the rest of us, it was probably the high cost of tickets that kept you from seeing a game or event in person.

So how do you avoid overpaying for tickets? Well it's really quite simple. Plan in advance. See, I said it was simple.

Since every major sports event occurs at approximately the same time each year, there's no reason why you shouldn't be planning for next year right now. Let's get back to our typical race fan. Once he discovers how much Indy 500 tickets will set him back, he'll decide that's too much and forget about the race. A year rolls by, and the approaching race starts making news. By this time maybe he's forgotten about the ticket prices, or maybe he thinks this year he'll find bargain tickets somewhere.


This year the prices are even higher, so he gives up yet again all the while thinking to himself that "one of these days" he's actually going to plunk down the money for tickets. Good luck. Sadly, while savvy fans will be experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the race in person, he'll be watching from home on the small screen.

Now if he would have just planned in advance for his race-day experience, the outcome could be very different. Many of those same tickets selling for well above face value in the weeks leading up to the race could have been had for face value a year earlier.

The window of opportunity for many sports tickets opens shortly after the preceding year's event has ended. This is even the case for some of the biggies like the Super Bowl or the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

The tickets are out there. You just have to know when and where to look. Here are some suggestions.

1) Check the official website of the sponsoring organization. Many times this will have all the information you need, including ticket procedures, deadlines, and special requirements. Do this as soon as possible after the event has taken place and keep checking periodically until updated information has been posted.

2) If you're more impatient, call the organization directly. You can usually find a phone number on the website, but if it's not there call 800 directory assistance. Ask how you can purchase tickets to next year's game, or at least get your name on a waiting list so you'll be notified when tickets are available. Make sure you know all the pertinent dates, addresses and prices so you'll be ready when they go on sale.

3) Check the official website of the host venue. Often the arena or stadium handles ticket sales, as is the case for the first/ second and regional rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. In this case, the early bird definitely gets the worm. Again, a polite phone call may provide additional information or get your name on the proper list.

4) Consider joining a team's fan club or booster club. Many times these memberships come with special advance notice of tickets sales or access to in-demand tickets. For example Boston Red Sox fans should join the Red Sox Nation to get ticket preferences for some of the hottest seats in Fenway Park. Membership will only set you back $9.95, a small price if you score some premium tickets.

5) Finally, search the Internet for information about the specific event or venue. You may find a little-known piece of information that allows you to apply for highly-coveted tickets. Be creative and try different word combinations as your search terms. Read everything you can find about the upcoming game or previous games. It's all about your willingness to put in a little "leg work" that may pay off in face-value Super Bowl or Final Four tickets.

In fact I just applied for

Final Four tickets last week, but I'm sure many hoops fans didn't even know that was possible.

So, regardless of the event or game, if you want to see it in person without taking out a second mortgage for tickets, try a little advance planning. With persistence and patience, you may just be watching it next year from the front row.


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