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Looking for an Inexpensive Game Day? Baseball Might Be Your Best Choice

Baseball season is coming, to which many of you say, “Yeah, so?” Baseball, though, is the bargain event among the four biggest spectator sports, as long as you follow some common sense advice.

The good news is that tickets to a baseball game, even a Major League Baseball game, are generally affordable. Of course, the closer you are to the field and home plate the more your tickets will cost. At Major League ballparks your best bet is usually to sit in the upper deck or in the outfield. You miss out on hearing the ball buzz from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s mitt, but a trip to the ballgame is as much about the casual atmosphere as it is about the game. At minor league ballparks, though, even seats close the field will often be within your price range.

Here is some bad news. If drinking beer at the ballgame is one of the reasons you go, there is no inexpensive way to do it. If there is a ballpark that lets you bring your own beer to the game, that park is the exception on almost any level of the game.  There is little way to get out of paying premium prices for beer. In fact, in Boise there is an ongoing controversy because fans discovered the $4 cup they bought at a hockey game held just as much beer as the $7 large cup.

Food, however, can be had for a bargain. At some parks they offer dollar items, such as small hot dogs and sodas. The other option is to bring food inside with you. Many parks allow it, prohibiting only beverages. That means you can bring in your own peanuts and shuck to your heart’s content.

Almost anything you buy outside the park is going to be cheaper than what you pay inside, because those hot dogs, burgers, pizzas and garlic fries inside the park are subsidizing player salaries.

Minor league baseball games are predictably the best bargain generally. While you don’t see the superstars, except for when one is on injury rehab assignment, you get all the feel of a day or night at the park. You get closer to the action, if you want, and in many cases the concession prices are lower.

Other ways to save on a ballgame include taking public transportation so you don’t have to pay to park at the stadium. Some teams do variable rate ticket prices, so if the team is doing well ticket prices are higher. If the team is not doing well the prices go down. Also, check sites where season ticket holders sell their tickets. If the team is doing badly those holding season tickets have a hard time giving tickets away. You might get a great seat for cheap.

Even if you’re not a baseball fan, everyone should experience a day or night at the ballpark with friends and family. It’s fun, it’s casual and it’s a way to get out with the community.

Published Mar 28, 2014.