Are you a diehard sports fan? Love going and seeing your team play and soaking up the atmosphere of a live sporting event? Of course you’ll want to be there for the big day, to see that goal, watch that final shot, revel in the excitement of being a part of a moment of sporting history. Except that with the rising cost of living, and the ridiculous prices of sports tickets, chances are you’re less and less likely to be able to afford to go. Well, we’re going to show you that are ways and means of getting those coveted tickets without having to use your life savings!
Step 1: Know the ticket prices
Always start by checking out the face value of tickets by going to the official website of the event you hope to get tickets for: that way you can be sure that you are not going to be ripped off. Unfortunately, however, there are very few comparison websites for sporting tickets, which does make knowing if you’ve got the best deal much harder. Nevertheless there are exceptions, for example the great comparison site TixDaq, which has recently started a section for sports tickets.
Step 2 : Unwanted tickets
It is quite common for people to buy tickets for an event and then realise later that they can’t make it. Their loss, however, can be your gain. Why not take a look on sites like Gumtree, Craigslist or eBay to see if you can pick up their second-hand tickets? If you are lucky you could end up paying considerably less than than face value. You could also check out sites like Seatwave and Viagogo who are devoted to re-selling tickets for all kinds of events. People advertise unwanted tickets on these sites, at a price of their choice, and the company makes all the arrangements for both parties. Getting tickets this way is often better nearer to the time of the event – the more desperate people are to get rid of their tickets, the less they’ll sell them for.
Step 3: Best prices
If you really can’t find your tickets any other way, and you’re desperate to see your team, then make sure you use sites with the most competitive ticket prices. We really like Lastminute.com who have some great deals for all kinds of sporting events. For premiership football, check out the official Barclaycard Premiership website which has information about ticket availability for all the fixtures, plus links to all the official club websites.
Remember to shop around before you make a decision though, as prices do vary quite substantially, and different websites have different booking charges. It’s also good to remember that tickets are often priced differently depending on where the seats are in the venue, so it’s worth weighing up how near you want to be to the front against how much you can afford. Remember the atmosphere is the same wherever you are in the venue!
For some extra tips and things you should watch out for when buying tickets, have a look at our article on cheapest concert and theatre tickets.
If you’re still struggling to afford tickets to that all important game, why not try a few of our alternatives instead:
Option 1: Working at sporting events
This option allows you to earn yourself a bit of money whilst watching your favourite team, and of course, there’s always a chance of meeting a few of your sporting heroes! If you just want a temporary job and don’t have any specific qualifications, catering and hospitality jobs are the most accessible and easiest to get.
Check out the Compass Group website – they employ temporary staff for all kinds of sporting events all over the world. Or, if you’re hoping to work at a specific event, visit the official website of that event and you can either check out job opportunities there, or follow their links to the organisation who arranges their catering and hospitality, and you can find out if they employ temporary staff for the event.
For more advice on how to get a job at a sporting event, check out our article on making money at sporting events.
Option 2: Get behind the up-and-coming teams
Ok, so it’s not quite the same as watching the best in the country, but if you don’t already, consider going to watch a lesser-known side that are local to you. You never know, you might be watching the champions of the future!
If it’s football or rugby you’re into, try going to some of your local side’s matches. Check out the BBC Sport website for a list of all the clubs, and all the fixtures for the current season. Tickets are usually about £20, but can be even cheaper depending on the club. Even if you only go to see what they’re like, you might find you end up really getting behind them, and it could be the start of something beautiful….
If it just has to be your favourite team, then why not pop down to a reserve or A team match. The Rugby Guinness ‘A’ League is not only highly competitive but also often feature big-name players, alongside lesser known squad players and up-and-coming youngsters, particularly those looking for match fitness after injury. Similarly, you can check out upcoming fixtures for the Barclays Premier Reserve League by going to the website of your favourite premiership club.
If Formula1 is your thing, try going to some Formula3 races instead. Formula3 is the less-professional version of Formula1. An all weekend ticket to the British F1 Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2009 is £109, but you can get an all weekend ticket to an F3 race at Silverstone (also on the Silverstone track) for just £20, and if your kids are under 16 they can go for free!
If you’re a tennis fan, then Wimbledon is undoubtedly the highlight of your sporting year, but tickets for centre court range from £40-£102 and are often sold through secondary sources for much more. Consider going to support the British team in the Davis Cup perhaps. You will still get the chance to watch some of the World’s best players but at half the price, typically between £20-£60. Or you could even watch an LTA event where tickets for the final day are usually around £25-£30.
What if golf is your cup of tea? Instead of going to main European tour events why not try going to some European challenge tour meetings to watch the up-and-coming younger players show you what they can do.
You’re probably getting the idea…
You could also consider going to some under-19s or under-21s games of your chosen sport, they’re generally a lot cheaper and easier to get tickets for, and once again, you could be watching the stars of the future.
Option 3: Try something new
If all else fails, you could try getting into a completely new sport altogether.
If you’re into exciting and fast-paced sports, why not give ice hockey a go? It’s huge in the US, and is fast growing in popularity here. Tickets for ice hockey games range from between £10-£15 for the full price best available seats. Check out the Ice Hockey UK website to find out more.
How about an evening at a dog track? Hugely entertaining and great fun for a whole group of people to go, tickets are usually a mere £5. For £10 however, you can get admission to the track, a free £1 bet, dinner and drinks all included.
Easily the most popular sport in the UK, football is somewhat of a national obsession. Perhaps it’s because of this that tickets, particularly for Premiership matches, are often obscenely expensive. So as well as everything you’ve already read, we’ve come up with a really quite exciting alternative to help you save some money if you’re a football fan:
You could always consider going abroad to watch a match in the Spanish La Liga or Italian Serie A for instance. You can find details of all the European leagues fixtures on the BBC Sport website, and incredibly this could well work out cheaper than watching a Premiership game in the UK. Most tickets for the new 2009/10 season are not yet on general sale, but this example from last season show how much you could save.
Tickets for the big Premiership clash between Liverpool and Manchester United on 13 September 2008 officially cost a maximum of £39. However, unless you had club membership which would have given you priority to these tickets, so few went on general sale that you were unlikely to get one at that price. Instead, you would have been forced to pay over the odds for tickets sold on by others. The cheapest we could find was a whopping £175 but some cost as much as £400!
As an alternative, we thought why not spend a weekend in Barcelona, and take time out current European champions FC Barcelona, who had a home game against Almeria on 26 October 2008? We found some really cheap return flights to Barcelona with Ryanair for £38.91 (including taxes), a ticket for the match from Tickazilla for £41, and a budget hotel room for two nights for £73 (based on two people sharing). That came to a grand total of £152.91!
Or, perhaps, if Italy had taken your fancy, you could have seen Inter-Milan play Genoa on 26 October for £54 with Tickazilla, and spent the weekend in Milan! Return flights with Ryanair cost just £60.65 (including taxes) and we found a budget hotel for two nights for £60 (based on two people sharing). That all came in at £174.65!