With MLB’s regular season now over, we approach what WFAN sports radio host Steve Somers calls “Serious October Baseball.” In baseball (as in other sports) the atmosphere inside the stadium is most electrifying during the post-season. Raucous crowds and championship hopes send heart-pounding action through all nine innings.
Unfortunately for most fans, though, playoff tickets are not easy to get. Even when they are available, they tend to be astronomically expensive. Here are a few ways the average fan can get playoff tickets on the cheap:
Scalpers At The Game
The time-honored way of getting cheap tickets is finding a scalper at the stadium on game day. It works in the regular season, and done correctly, it works during the playoffs. More often than not, it comes down to when you buy. A common (and mistaken) approach is to show up at the stadium an hour before game time and desperately seek out scalpers with hat in hand. This is exactly the type of person a scalper wants to find, because they will pay seemingly anything to get through the turnstiles.
Instead, turn the tables on them by waiting until the game is just about to begin – maybe even midway through the first inning. By this time, the scalper is no longer licking his chops in a crowd of eager ticket-seekers. Now, he’s starting to fear that no buyer will emerge. If there’s any way to get discounted tickets from a scalper, this is it.
If you simply cannot stomach the possibility of driving to the stadium and not getting in, there’s always StubHub.com. StubHub is essentially an online community for scalpers and ticket seekers. Those with tickets to sell can post them online, set a price and let StubHub (the impartial third party) handle all the payment details. The buyer immediately prints out the tickets from their home computer and uses them to enter the ballpark.
While not all of the playoff tickets posted on StubHub will be a cheap, a surprising number of them are good deals. After all, different sellers have different motives for selling. The die-hard Yankees fan with ALCS tickets might get roped into a last-minute business trip and forced to sell at a discount. That’s where you swoop in and take advantage.
Another option for obtaining discounted playoff tickets are auction sites like eBay. In fact, there is an entire section of eBay – eBay Tickets – dedicated solely to connecting buyers and sellers of tickets (including playoff games.) As on StubHub, there is no guarantee that all tickets will be discounted. But again: you never know why someone is selling. The only way to find deals on eBay is to get involved in the bidding.
Predictably, you are not going to find home plate seats for $100. But you might be surprised at the prices for other seats around the ballpark, and if you act quickly, you can snap up your tickets well in advance.
Season Ticket-Holders Who Cannot Attend
There is always the old-fashioned method of asking around the family or the office. Most of us (whether we realize it or not) know season ticket-holders to the major teams in our areas. Now, playoff games are an unlikely time for season ticket-holders to relinquish their seats. But as always, things come up. Your best bet is to put the word out at the beginning of a playoff series that you are in the market for tickets.
That way, a season-ticket holder who cannot (or would rather not) attend sees you as a guaranteed payoff for their tickets – whether or not it’s the full market value.
Team Discounts & Promotions
Sometimes (but not always) the teams themselves offer discounted and promotional playoff tickets. A current example involves the Tampa Bay Rays, who are offering – for a small premium – guaranteed access to playoff seats. Fans who don’t want to pay the $100 premium had the option of entering a random lottery drawing and getting guaranteed seats if they won. The Rays (like many other teams) also promise guaranteed playoff seats to fans who pre-order season ticket packages for next season.
Rays playoff tickets, we should note, are extremely affordable: $30 for upper deck and $160 for field-side box seats.