Should I Buy Tickets On Craigslist?

March 1, 2015



Sports fans love to tell the story of the great deal they scored on tickets once...be it through a scalper, great timing on StubHub, a classified ad, whatever. We love it. It makes us feel so much smarter than the suckers who paid three times the price for the same seats.

Frequently when I am poring through ballpark reviews, one or two folks will talk about getting their tickets on Craigslist, and saving a bundle of cash.

In case you’ve never used it, Craigslist is a website that falls somewhere between eBay and newspaper classifieds. It’s people trying to sell stuff they can’t use to people who can. Sports and concert tickets are routinely sold there, probably in the millions.

I did some research on the deals available on Craigslist for tickets, by looking into what was available for the Phillies Opening Day game this year.

I saw Diamond Club seats in Section C, Row 9, being sold from a season ticket holder, for $395 apiece; seats in Row 7 of the same Section went for $849 on StubHub (that StubHub figure, in my opinion, is ridiculously inflated, and it will probably come down if no suckers are found).

Another person had four tickets going for $125 apiece in Section 116; similar tickets on StubHub were $237—this person said they were willing to meet close to their house to deliver the tickets.

So if these people are legit, then indeed there are some great deals to be had on Craigslist. Sellers and buyers also avoid the fees associated with brokers, which drops the prices, especially on high end tickets.

The catch is that unlike with official brokers like StubHub, there are no guarantees to protect you from being scammed, and you don’t have to look very hard for stories about people being taken to the tune of hundreds of dollars buying very authentic-looking tickets.



In those stories, I’ve noticed that you’ll often read a quote from someone who works for Ticketmaster or another broker, preaching about the dangers of buying tickets on Craigslist. When the Yankees started their own Ticket Exchange, they tried selling the public on the dangers of StubHub.

I didn’t read a lot of articles about Craigslist victims, but the stories I did read made the problem seem a lot bigger than it probably is. One story mentioned a Patriots game where 50 people were turned away with fake tickets. When you think about it, that number is small enough that one clever scammer could have nailed all of them. And that story, incidentally, almost blatantly plugged the “official” NFL Ticket Exchange, even linking to it. Have a look here.

So should you risk Craigslist? I’ve never tried it, but there are ways to minimize the risk. Craigslist advises meeting with the seller in person, in a public place, and they say this will help you avoid 99% of the scams. A blogger added to this...get the person’s phone number, license plate number, any info you can. And bring someone with you, since you’re meeting with a stranger that knows you are carrying cash.


Now, if the seller is a season ticket holder, you can verify that with the team. Teams have accounts and information about their best customers and you can ask them if the person you’re dealing with is a legit season ticket holder. You can also ask the seller what other games they’d have. There are ways to flush people out.

Look at the tickets carefully and don’t buy them if your gut tells you something is wrong. Check the date and the opponent. It’s not difficult to produce excellent counterfeits these days, but smudged ink, shoddy paper, or scissor marks are easy to spot. Be especially wary with high demand games, like playoff or Opening Day games.

For the most part, I’m guessing most folks on Craigslist are legitimate, and you can always do some investigation on the seller, especially if they are season ticket holders.

The rules for buying tickets on Craigslist, in my opinion, would be the same as patronizing scalpers, which I've done a few times. Use your best judgment, and accept the possibility that you could get ripped off. If it's happened to you, feel free to air me out in the comment section so readers know.

If you find the right seller, you might have a great story to tell about the deal you got on Opening Day tickets.
 

Baseball Fan Mistakes I Used To Make

January 3, 2015
Since I've started researching everything there is to know about various baseball venues, I've learned a lot. Some things have saved me money, some things have saved me time, and some things have saved me a lot of aggravation.

Even I still don't always get it right going to a game, but I've definitely learned to avoid certain pitfalls. Here's a list of four mistakes I used to make in my misspent youth...

1) Buying tickets from the team website. By itself, this isn't always the worst thing to do...
Continue reading...
 

Which Ballpark Has The Best Food?

December 13, 2014


With ballparks featuring a full menu these days, I am asked this question by almost every radio show that is generous enough to have me on. It’s a fun question and I don’t mind answering it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a challenge.

Truthfully, since there are items worth trying and not worth trying at every venue—and since they almost all have some version of nachos, pizza, cheesesteaks, burgers, and of course, unusually topped hot dogs—you can probably find something that’s a...
Continue reading...
 

Try A Local, Bad Beer at the Game

December 10, 2014

Ballpark beer is so ridiculously priced nowadays that I’ve been staying sober at the game. It’s just not worth it to me; I’ll be a designated driver and get my free soda or have a few at a nearby tavern.

I suppose the plus of this is fewer inebriated people at the game; just Google “Ten Cent Beer Night” to learn what can happen when 50,000 sports fans can afford unlimited alcohol. And apparently some fans will still pay $9 for a Coors Light; far be it for me to stop them.

Many teams h...
Continue reading...
 

New Book About Old Comiskey

August 9, 2014
Looks like my buddy Floyd Sullivan at ChicagoNow, author of the endearing and humorous fan essay "Waiting For The Cubs" (see my review of that book here), has written a new book about the old Comiskey Park.

Well, I guess you can just call it "Comiskey Park" now, since the "New Comiskey Park" is now called "U.S. Cellular Field".

Check out Old Comiskey Park: Essays and Memories of the Historic Home of the Chicago White Sox, 1910-1991 here.

Continue reading...
 

A Universal Ballgame Parking Tip

July 30, 2014
In two recent ballpark outings, in Boston and Baltimore, I have learned that not only has the price of parking at a ballgame escalated, but also that the price is higher for high demand games these days.

Thankfully in Boston I always know better than to drive to Fenway Park; I know traffic in Kenmore Square on game day and parking prices are going to be insane. This last visit was no exception, but even I was surprised at what some lots almost a half mile away from the ballpark were charging. ...
Continue reading...
 

The Wrigley Rooftops Need Better Legal Counsel

July 9, 2014


I have been keeping up with interest on the ongoing saga that is the Cubs vs. Wrigley Rooftop owners. The latest story, other than the Rooftop owners offering a “two sign” concession to the Cubs, is that the recent Rooftop defamation lawsuit against a local sports consultant was thrown out of court.

When you get a suit thrown out of court that quickly, you’ve probably put up a weak argument. At least, that’s the perception.

If you’re unfamiliar with the background of this, briefly, t...
Continue reading...
 

Reaching 203

June 28, 2014


Joe Mock at the Rickwood Classic in Birmingham, Alabama

Fans whose yearly vacations revolve around a baseball road trip probably know the name Joe Mock. If they don’t, they should.

Mock is the author and webmaster at Baseballparks.com, the premier website for baseball roadtrippers. He is also the author of 2001’s "Joe Mock's Ballpark Guide", a delightfully illustrated book about the 30 MLB parks in use at the time. He regularly contributes to USA Today’s Sports Weekly about the North Amer...
Continue reading...
 

Cool New Stuff at Citizens Bank Park

March 28, 2014
It’s pretty cool to park in Lot S at Citizens Bank Park, even if there isn’t a ballgame going on.

Lot S is the Media Lot, and yes, expert that I am on all things Citizens Bank Park, I didn’t know that either.

Thanks to Ken Dunek and JerseyMan Magazine, and to the kindness of the Philadelphia Phillies, I was invited to a Phillies 2014 Media Event, where the Phillies and the nice Aramark folks tell hungry newspeople what’s new at the ballpark this year. Oh, and to share hot dogs with chee...
Continue reading...
 

Baseball’s Biggest Loss of 2014

March 9, 2014
Few things were funnier than my father’s occasional profanity-laden philosophy.

Before baseball's last collective bargaining agreement, I asked him if he would quit watching if the players went on strike again. Like everyone else, he was angry as hell about 1994 and once said to me that he wouldn't care if he never saw another millionaire play baseball again.

But this time he said, "You know Kurt, I've been thinking about that. In life you have to give up ****. I gave up smoking, I gave up d...
Continue reading...
 
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get a FREE eBook... sign up for the Ballpark E-Guides Newsletter!
Follow BallparkEGuides on Twitter
Live in South Jersey and want to play ball?

Make a Free Website with Yola.