How to Score Cheap Baseball Tickets

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And do it legally.

With the regular season for Major League Baseball starting in April, now’s the time to start scouting out reasonably priced tickets.

You can still bargain-shop the old-fashioned way—by buying tickets on the “secondary market” in person at the ballpark (but first check local scalping laws to make sure you aren’t committing any fouls). You’ll also find ticket bargains—you can probably guess where—on the Internet. That’s definitely a better route if you’re taking the kids to the game and don’t want to risk being outbid at the ballpark.

A word of caution to avoid paying more than you think you are: According to AOL, mega-scalpers like StubHub tack additional fees onto the ticket price—a service charge, as well as an email or FedEx charge for delivering the tickets to you. So you’ll need to do a little quick math and make sure the base price plus additional fees will still be a bargain. Besides stubhub.com, you’ll also find deals for all kinds of events—including MLB games—at Cheap Tickets, Travel Zoo, and Ebay. Don’t overlook Major League Baseball’s own site, as well as your team’s official site, where you might find discounted tickets or packages.

If you’ve never shopped for baseball bargains before, you’ll be amazed at how low ticket prices can go—we’re talking $7 range. We found some sage advice from Sean Graw at Brad's Deals. Graw points out that the MLB’s long playing season—162 games per season, compared to 16 games per season for the NFL—puts the odds of scoring a deal in your favor.

Just remember that many of the same rules that apply to hotels also apply to baseball parks: You’ll get a better deal if you can go during the week or at any other time when everybody else isn’t clamoring for a spot. For example, if your beloved Atlanta Braves are playing the New York Yankees? Fuhgettaboutit. On the other hand, if the Braves are playing a team that hasn’t made it to the playoffs since the Truman administration? Chances are, those tickets won’t empty your wallet. Also, Graw says, if you’re willing to risk cloudy skies early in the year, when season ticket holders often ditch a few games rather than pack the rain ponchos for April showers, you can get a deal as those tickets go on the market. (It’s the same basic principle as booking a beach hotel in the off-season.)

At the end of the day, ticket shopping boils down to this: How much do you (or your kids and their Little League posse) want to see that game, and what’s it worth to you? Once you decide, you can surf with confidence because you’ll know what your options are before you commit. And if you’re willing to spend a little more than somebody else for a special day at the park, that’s your choice. With any luck, you’ll even have a little change left over for . . . HOT-dogs! Get your HOT-dogs!

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