How to Save Money on Playoff Tickets

October 2, 2016
The MLB Playoffs are here, and of the six division winners that have already punched their tickets to the postseason, only one...the Boston Red Sox of all teams...have seen a World Series championship since 1988.

Four of these teams haven’t even won a World Series in the ballpark they currently play in...that includes the Cubs...and two teams still haven’t grabbed a World Championship ring in their history. So playoff tickets will be in high demand.

Actually that’s a bit of an understatement. Cubs World Series tickets, should they make it, are starting at $2,000 for standing room.

It may be a little late for some of these tips to be useful, but file this away for next year, because if you’re seeking playoff tickets you can save a boatload of money by planning ahead:

1)    Pay attention to the team newsletter.

You should always be signed up for a team's ticket alert newsletter for any ballpark you plan to visit, of course, but the newsletter will let you know a) when season ticket holders can buy playoff tickets, since they will get first crack at it, and b) when the rest of us can buy tickets through the team, which will most certainly be cheaper than going through the markup.

Most teams give playoff ticket opportunities to folks who put down a deposit on a season ticket plan for the following season. This might be worth may want to get a friend or two in on it or sell your unwanteds on StubHub. If a team that hasn’t been good in a while suddenly goes deep into the playoffs, chances are good that tickets for the following season will go for much dough on the third party market.

But even if you have no season ticket aspirations, there will be some tickets still available through the team, and you’ll get an e-mail letting you know when they go on sale. You’ll have to be ready to jump on it as soon as they do, but the markup especially for teams like the Cubs will be significant...count on it being at least double the face price.

By the way, the team might hold a contest or an auction for playoff tickets, as the Cubs are doing...

2)    Keep checking with the team.

It does happen; players and officials return their extras. Maybe not as much for critical games, but you never know. The point is to remember that playoff tickets especially will almost always be cheaper going through the team than through an agency or a third party.

3)    Go for the “if necessary” games.

In my searches I noticed that when teams are making division series tickets available, the tickets for the first two “necessary” games go far more quickly than the game five or whatever tickets. So look into this option if you don’t absolutely have to go; you’re more likely to land a better seat at face price.

The team will refund whatever amount you pay for games that don’t get played (I presume that includes the fees), small consolation for missing the playoff game, but at least it’s safe.

4)    Remember the third party market rules.

If you have to go through StubHub or SeatGeek rather than through the team, you’ll be paying more, obviously, but you at least don’t have to submit to the team’s season ticket demands.

Remember basic rules for using third party sellers: wait until about 2-5 days before the event to pick up tickets, or till the last minute if it isn’t that important to you, and be ready to snap up a good deal if one appears (hard to gauge, I know, just be realistic).

Also, be sure to go all the way to the checkout screen to compare prices; SeatGeek includes the fees in the displayed cost, but StubHub does not, and you may be very surprised at the difference between ticket prices in similar sections.

You can set alerts on both SeatGeek and StubHub, but thus far that hasn’t worked very well for me recently. Couldn’t hurt though.

I've gotten great deals on SeatGeek; so I recommend trying them first.

5)    Be extra wary of scalpers and Craigslist.

I’ve written before about buying tickets on Craigslist and the potential for fraud, and how it’s generally not worth worrying about being scammed. It’s the same with scalpers. There are some things to know dealing with both, but the large majority of the time they are legit.

During the playoffs, though, when the stakes are higher and the costs of tickets skyrocket, you will occasionally read stories about scalpers and people on Craigslist selling fake tickets. I’m betting we may hear a story about this in Chicago. Just be extra careful.

If you decide to try the scalper route, by all means check out this advice from my buddy Andrew Van Cleve. He nails down deals for tickets that I only dream about.

6)    Consider going on the road.

Let’s say you’re a die-hard Cubs fan who can’t put a second mortgage on their house to see a postseason game at Wrigley. Why not look into a trip to D.C.? Or L.A.? Or for that matter, Detroit? The Tigers could still make it as I write this, and we could see a World Series between two teams that are just a four-hour drive apart.

Since you’re reading this now for next season, if you think going to see your heroes on the road might actually be cheaper than seeing your team at home, sometime in mid-August...mark August 15 on your should subscribe to the team newsletters of any team you think might make the playoffs. Remember, tickets will almost always be cheaper through the team.

Again, these tips may probably only be slightly helpful now, but if you want to get playoff tickets without losing your shirt, most likely you’ll have to plan well ahead anyway (I’ll re-post this earlier next time). So look into splitting a season ticket deal with a friend (you should probably share the postseason tickets too, just saying), subscribe to team alerts, and get your best practices on with StubHub.

And make sure you invest in one of these, of course...


30 Ballparks in 23 Days

September 25, 2016
In the 2012 season, Chuck Booth pulled off a remarkable feat. He saw every inning of 30 games in all 30 MLB ballparks.

Yes, I know. A few people have done that.

But how about pulling off that feat in 23 days?

Booth followed a schedule that included seven doubleheaders…including Toronto/New York, Boston/Washington (those two on consecutive days!), and Cincinnati/Chicago. You can read about this incredible journey, including how to handle flight cancellations, here at MLB Reports.

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Parking For Free at The Ballpark

September 11, 2016
Recently I interviewed Scott Chamberlain, a prominent member of Ballpark Chasers, and someone who has accomplished a pretty remarkable feat in 2016...he has paid just $2 for parking all season!

Scott graciously took the time to answer my questions and share his tips; hope you enjoy the exchange below. If you'd like to check out Scott's blog, you can find it at

How many games did you go to this year, and at how many ballparks?  

Up to this point, I am at 61 re...
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Baseball On Holidays

August 27, 2016
There are three major holidays during baseball season where pretty much all of America has the day off. Baseball never sleeps though, and almost every team plays on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. And the Blue Jays are usually home on Canada Day and often sell out the stadium (speaking of the Blue Jays, remember that our holidays aren’t holidays there...take advantage and plan a trip then and enjoy the game while the rest of Canada is at work!).

There a few dynamics at work at ...
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How to Get to Fenway From Maine/New Hampshire

July 1, 2016
Greetings Baseball Fans--The Blue Water Mortgage people are fans of Ballpark E-Guides, and they sent me a cool infographic on how to get to Fenway from New Hampshire or Maine.

And I had not even heard of the C&J Bus...will have to add that to the Fenway Park E-Guide!

You can check out the infographic here...very cool.

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Interview with Craig Landgren of Ballpark Chasers

May 15, 2016
If you haven't heard of the Ballpark Chasers website and Facebook page, it's a steadily growing community of baseball travelers who post photos, share stories, and best of all, help each other out when traveling to see baseball all over the country.

This August the third annual Ballpark Chasers Meetup will be happening at Camden Yards in Baltimore, so I caught up with site owner Craig Landgren and he was kind enough to answer my questions about the Meetup and the Chaser community.

What made yo...
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What's New at The Ballparks 2016 - American League

April 2, 2016
This time of year, there are so many changes being announced to every home team’s ballpark…especially with new food items…that it’s impossible for me to get the Ballpark E-Guides updated so quickly. So until I do, here is what you need to know about changes that aren’t yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides.

Here is what’s new in the American League:

Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)

The Orioles have raised ticket prices for 2016, to help pay for their re-signed cleanup hitter. The averag...
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What's New At The Ballparks 2016 - National League

April 2, 2016
This time of year, there are so many changes being announced to every home team’s ballpark…especially with new food items…that it’s impossible for me to get the Ballpark E-Guides updated so quickly. So until I do, here is what you need to know about changes that aren’t yet contained in Ballpark E-Guides.

Here is what’s new in the National League:

Citi Field (New York Mets)

You may have heard that the iconic Pepsi Porch is now the Coca-Cola Corner; obviously there will be Coke pro...

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Kurt's Top Five Ballpark Destinations in 2016

January 17, 2016
It’s January, and it’s cold, which can only mean one thing: baseball season is coming!

And if you’re like me and love traveling to see another ballpark, you’re probably starting to plan your next trip to see one of the great homes of baseball in North America.

So if you haven’t decided where to go yet, Ballpark E-Guides is here to help, with my top five ballpark destinations of 2016. Here we go:

5) PNC Park, Pittsburgh. PNC is one of the best post-Camden ballparks; the view of the Cle...
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The Best Gift For A Baseball Fan

November 30, 2015
If you're looking for the perfect Christmas or Hanukkah gift for the baseball fan in your life, Ballpark E-Guides is here to help.

Tickets always work for me, but if you want to give an extra special gift to the baseball nut, how about a detailed, fun to read insider's guide to their favorite ballpark, or a ballpark that they'd like to visit?

Below I've made this very easy for you. I've included links to holiday specials that teams are offering, links to search for tickets on SeatGeek, and most...
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