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How To Get Cheap Sports Tickets: 11 Money-Saving Tips

How To Get Cheap Sports Tickets: 11 Money-Saving Tips

The last few years have seen inflation hit record numbers in the U.S. and around the world. While rates are beginning to slow to a more normal pace, it’s never a bad idea to save money where you can. If you’re a die-hard sports fan looking to fit the next big game into your budget, here’s the good news: you might not need to pay full price.    

As an AAA member, you have access to our AAA Discounts & Rewards® program, which can help you save on sporting events across the country. You can also use these tips and tricks to maximize your savings. 

Here’s how to get cheap sports tickets. 

Understanding Sports Ticket Pricing

A table of average sports tickets cost for three five American sports.

Depending on the event, sports tickets can range anywhere from $10 up to $50,000. This wide disparity is largely due to dynamic pricing. This pricing model helps franchises make more profits by allowing ticket prices to change according to demand. Some factors that may affect sports ticket prices include: 

  • Sport. Prices rise with more popular sports—NFL tickets are usually much more expensive than MLB. 
  • Team popularity. The L.A. Lakers, led by LeBron James, are more likely to draw a crowd than the Utah Jazz, and prices will reflect that. 
  • Event importance. If it’s a championship or some other decisive event, it’s likely to be more expensive. 
  • Seating location. Basketball has some of the highest luxury seat prices since floor tickets will seat you right where the action is happening. 

Since ticket prices can vary so widely, try not to focus on getting the all-time lowest ticket price you’ve ever seen. Instead, choose an event you’d like to see, then start looking at affordability.  

1. Take Advantage of Membership Prices

With your AAA membership, you get access to AAA Tickets and can save up to 30 percent on live events. This includes tickets for both college and professional league sports teams, including: 

  • NBA 
  • NHL 
  • MLB 
  • NFL 
  • NCAA 

Our AAA Tickets program can help you witness your team enter the playoffs while still maintaining your budget. It’s one of the easiest ways to save! 

2. Buy in Advance (Or Last Minute)

If you can, buy your tickets in advance. Take advantage of buying during the offseason or presales, as these can get you some of the lowest prices. 

If you missed presale and ticket prices have started to soar, you’re not completely out of luck. Sometimes, teams will lower ticket prices at the last minute to fill the stands—the Columbus Blue Jackets do this with their CBJ Student RUSH. 

3. Follow Teams and Sports Venues on Social Media

If you have a specific team you want to see, be sure to follow them on social media. The same thing applies to sports venues near you that you frequent. This can help you catch any announcements about pre-sales, special promotions or contests surrounding upcoming tickets.  

4. Attend Midweek Games

Weekday games tend to be hidden gems for budget-conscious sports fans. Since weekdays are when most people have work off, they are also more popular events—and therefore more expensive. 

Some sports venues even have subscription services that will allow you to see a set number of games at a discounted price. Blackout days may apply and are often on weekends—so keeping your weekdays open really can help you save.  

5. Buy Group Tickets

If you have a large group of friends or are hosting an event at a game, check to see if the venue offers any discounted group tickets. Some programs offer substantial savings—like the Oakland Athletics, which offers a 15 percent discount on groups of 15 or more. They also offer tickets at 50 percent off through their Super Saver Fundraising program.   

Group tickets may also include other benefits like reserved seating or team swag.

A list of five tips to enjoy live sporting events along with illustrated icons.

6. Sit Further Away

Your seat location can play a large role in your ticket’s cost, with tickets closer to the game costing much more. In basketball, a courtside ticket can cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, while a seat in the uppermost level may go for as low as $10.   

With such significant savings, seeing your favorite game from afar can be worth it. Plus, by bringing some binoculars, you can always get a close-up look at the game without spending the luxury seat price. 

7. Subscribe to Sports Newsletters or Podcasts

Subscribing to sports newsletters and podcasts can be a great way to get insider information or even early access to promotions. Check to see if the venue you typically attend offers a newsletter and resale sites like Gametime. You can also subscribe to news outlets that cover sports, like the LA Times and podcasts like ESPN Daily

8. Go Solo

Attending a sporting event on your own is another way you can sometimes get a deal. Often, single seats are easier to get than multiples by each other. This can happen for several reasons. For example, a group may sell an extra ticket they have when a friend cancels.   

If you do want to attend with a friend of yours, consider sitting separately if it gets you a better deal and catching up after the game. 

9. Skip the Playoffs

Since the playoffs are more important than other games, they are also more expensive. If you don’t mind watching this game from home, it can be a great way to save some money. Invite your friends over and make it a party with chips, dip and drinks.

A list of five tips to enjoy live sporting events along with illustrated icons.

With the money you save, you can plan to attend a different game that’s more affordable. You may even be able to attend more than one for what you would’ve spent on just attending the playoff game.  

10. Join Your Team’s Mailing List

If you aren’t already subscribed to your favorite team’s mailing list, you may be missing out on some of the best deals. Since their goal is to fill up the stands for their games, they often notify loyal fans of presales and other promotions. You may be able to score discounted tickets, merchandise and other swag this way.      

11. Compare Prices Across Ticket Sites

Because of dynamic pricing, vendors don’t need to sell tickets at the same price point—even if it’s for the same game. Prices can vary across platforms, especially with resale websites where consumers can set whatever price they want. 

This is why it’s so important to compare prices across multiple sites before buying your ticket to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. 

See the Big Game With AAA Tickets

As a AAA member, you can get sports tickets for up to 20 percent off through the AAA Tickets program. We make finding deals easy for both college and professional leagues, so you can get tickets that fit your budget for the: 

  • NBA 
  • NHL 
  • MLB 
  • NFL 
  • NCAA 

Explore other ways to save with your AAA membership, from getting a cheap hotel to discounted movie tickets and more.