Best Ways to Score Discount Tickets for Live Sporting Events

Photo: iStock

Live, in-person sporting events are returning. And after a year of watching sports exclusively on a TV screen, fans are rushing back to the venues in droves. But we don’t want to necessarily pay top dollar, so here’s how to find the best discount tickets to sporting events.

Our first advice? Unless you’re going to die if you don’t see your favorite team, avoid the markup market. When there’s high demand, tickets can resell online for quadruple their original price, which means finding last-minute seats to watch your favorite team can cost a fortune.

So how can you find stadium tickets without breaking the bank? Keep reading for some of the best resources.

Box Office

As obvious as it sounds, the most credible, surefire way to find face-value tickets is by showing up to the stadium box office. You’ll never have to worry about an unfair markup or counterfeit tickets when you buy them straight from the source. And while you can visit the “digital box office” on your home team’s website, showing up in person may help you avoid those pesky transaction fees, making the total price even lower.

Purchasing directly from the stadium box office is also the best way to find group tickets. As Brian Martucci from Money Crasher explains, “the box office is more likely than any other source to have contiguous blocks of seats available for larger groups – say, 10 or more people.”

Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster is a trusted online source for direct and resale tickets—and not just for sporting events. You can also find passes for live concerts, theater productions and even some exclusive shows on this site.

Ticketmaster sells face-value tickets through its virtual box office while also hosting authorized resellers like NBAtickets.com, as well as fan-to-fan resale. Still, you don’t have to worry about scams or counterfeit tickets if you buy through the resale portal, as Ticketmaster independently verifies that all tickets are genuine. And if some scam does slip through the cracks, Ticketmaster will give you your money back without hesitation. They offer full refunds, up to three days after the game in question.

StubHub

StubHub, which has earned the same level of credibility as Ticketmaster, specializes in resale tickets. If you’re looking for secondhand tickets to a sold-out game, StubHub is the place to check. In fact, you may even find tickets at lower than face-value prices, as season ticket holders who can’t make it to a certain game often sell their tickets on StubHub at a discount. And in the spirit of transparency, StubHub offers a “value meter” feature, which rates each transaction by perceived value. That’s to say, how does the actual quality of the seat compare to the price? It’s a way you’ll know whether you have found a real deal or an unfair steal.

SeatGeek

Image: SeatGeek

If you’ve ever used Kayak.com to compare airfare across platforms, you’ll get the gist of SeatGeek. This website compares prices across all the major online ticket vendors, including Ticketmaster and StubHub. Additionally, through a formal partnership with Major League Soccer, SeatGeek has some of the best prices on original and resale soccer tickets in the US. However, even as it helps you find the cheapest tickets online, SeatGeek does have some pretty steep sales fees. You’ll still find great deals, but just be sure to factor in the added transaction cost.

Buy smart!

The internet is full of scammers, so it’s imperative to stay alert when looking for resale tickets. Facebook is a particular hotbed for fraud, bogus markups and counterfeit tickets. That’s why it is worth using one of the reputable sources listed above, even if you have to pay a slight fee. In exchange, you’ll have the peace of mind that the tickets you purchased are genuine, and that you can ask for your money back if there is any kind of issue.

Sources: Money Crasher, Music in Minnesota, Ticketmaster