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7 Money-Saving Tips for Attending a Sporting Event on a Budget

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So you’re ready to take the whole family to a sporting event— great! Only problem is things can get expensive fast. According to Team Marketing Report’s 2019 Fan Cost Index, the average cost for an NFL ticket for the 2019 season rose 1.3% to a whopping $102.35 per ticket on average! In the mood for some fall baseball? The average baseball ticket in 2019 costs $32.99, and prices spike during playoffs. College sports can be just as expensive. A 2019 Georgia Bulldogs home football game is the most expensive college football ticket in the country, costing $487 on average— ouch! Bottom line— sporting events can be expensive. However, the good news is there are a number of things you can do to make attending a sporting event more affordable.

When popular teams come to town, or there’s a game between two major rivals, many sports teams add a premium charge to their ticket prices. In this case, the best way to save some money is to pick out non-rival or less popular games to attend. You’ll still enjoy all the excitement and live action, but will be saving a few bucks.

2. Network for Tickets
You might be surprised, but chances are you probably have a few friends that are season ticket holders, or at least know someone who might be a season ticket holder to professional or college sporting events. One of the best ways to save some money is to simply do a little networking and to find season ticket holders among your friends and family. Once you do, ask if there are any games they don’t plan on attending, and see if they wouldn’t mind giving you their tickets or selling them to you at a discounted price.

3. Consider a High School Game
Professional and college sporting events are exciting because the athletes are among the best in the world at their respective sports. However, high school sports can be just as much fun to attend at a fraction of the cost.

4. Public Transportation
Parking on game day can cost anywhere from $15 to over $75, depending on how close you want to be to the stadium. Cut transportation costs by taking public transportation to the game! A bus, train, light rail, or subway trip will save you on the cost of gas and parking. If you live close to the stadium, consider taking a cab, walking, or biking to the game to save as well.

5. Shop Around for Team Merchandise
Just like food, team merchandise can be extremely expensive. For t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, team mugs, posters, and more, consider your local sporting goods retailer or shop online to find the best deal.

Stadium food prices are obscenely expensive. According to, the price for a hot dog at a New York Mets baseball game in 2019 costs $6.75! Beverages are just as bad— a beer at the Dallas Cowboys stadium is $9. Save money by eating before the game or by packing some snacks to bring along. Beforehand, just make sure to check with your stadium’s cooler or container policy. Some stadiums allow small coolers, containers with food, and water bottles, but not all. Tailgating before the game can help save on food costs as well. Check out our Cheap Tailgating Tips article to learn how to make your tailgate affordable.

7. Volunteer or Get a Job at the Stadium
The best way to watch the game for FREE while getting paid is to look into jobs or volunteer opportunities at the stadium. Not only will you be helping the community and your team, but you will be able to experience the action on someone else’s dime! Game day job and volunteer opportunities can be found at

When in doubt, there is always the option to watch the game in the comfort of your own home. It truly is the “best seat in the house,” and you’re guaranteed to save money while enjoying family time rooting for your favorite team.

Whether you’re attending a professional, college, or even high school sporting event, the cost of tickets, travel, and food can quickly add up. Before heading to the stadium, take these money-saving tips into consideration to help reduce your game day costs. Check out our Cheap Tailgating Tips article for even more ways to save.

The information provided in this article does not constitute financial advice and is provided for educational purposes only without any express or implied warranty of any kind. This article is not intended as legal, tax, investment, or any other advice, and Mariner Finance does not offer credit repair services. Consider talking with an appropriate qualified professional for specific advice. Blog posts are for informational purposes only.