Ticket Buying Guide by Ultimate Sports Fan, Andrew

Strategy for Championship Games
  Ticket Buying Guide Index  
  • Guide to Scalping Tickets
  • Championship Games
  • Playoff Games
  • Sold Out Games
  • Everyday Games
  • Second Tier Events
  • Street Smarts and Other Watch-outs
  • Need Help?
Championship games are not about negotiating around the stadium on the day of the event. You might find yourself high and dry without a ticket in hand by kickoff or the first pitch. Or, you will find yourself forking over hundreds of dollars more than you would have paid online.

Negotiation and finding the right price is something that happens in the days leading up to the game. It is often online and it is all about timing. With games like the Super Bowl and World Series be prepared to purchase ahead of time, but buying in advance does not mean you will not still get a great value. There are a few steps in the process to ensure that you are save a few hundred dollars per ticket.

1) “Soar and Sink” Cycle: Do not buy as soon as your team advances to the next round in the playoffs. Immediately following a victory, people are very excited about the game which will drive up prices. Some fans will be enticed by the high prices and will add their tickets to the market. Other fans will shutter in “sticker shock” and will not even consider buying. The combination of these two groups starts to drive prices down. For example, when the New York Giants upset the Dallas Cowboys on January 13, 2008 in Dallas the NFC Championship game was unexpectedly sent to Lambeau Field. This change in venue caused Packer backers into a ticket buying frenzy. Before the Giants won the game, tickets on eBay for the potential game in Green Bay cost around $350 per ticket. This price doubled to $700-800 per ticket three hours after the Giants upset. As the week progressed, ticket prices fell to around $400 per ticket on game day. This “Soar and Sink” cycle is consistent with Championship games.

2) It is all about timing when watching the market: Given the “Soar and Sink” dynamics, you will need patience on your side. The issue is that you need to time the market based on how much risk you are willing to take. After avoiding the early “Soar” in prices, you may want to use the following websites to determine market fluctuations and prices the same way a trader would look at the stock market. Really what you are looking for are great deals that are an anomaly to current market prices. Note: Be sure to compare “apples-to-apples” – meaning you are looking at tickets in similar areas so prices are consistent.

a. www.ticketsnow.com – TicketsNow is the market maker because most ticket brokers around the country use their system. There will be few great deals on this site since there are tons of experts buying and selling. But it is a great site to educate yourself on an accurate gauge of the ticket market and what a fair price is. By refreshing their site every few hours, you can see ticket prices move up and down before your very eyes.
b. www.stubhub.com – Since fans post tickets on StubHub, there will commonly be mistakes in the market. And by mistakes in the market, I mean tickets that are great deals. You will need impeccable timing here as there will be other fans looking for the same deal. For instance, rookie fans may underestimate the worth of their ticket and post their seat for only twice face value in a market where three to four times face value is more accurate.
c. www.ebay.com – Since eBay is an auction site, it is less about timing and more about finding mistakes a.k.a. “great deals.” I usually buy tickets from eBay for major events since prices tend to be lower than the other sites. Unlike StubHub.com which removes listings as soon as a purchase is made, eBay lists completed sales. You can find out what the lowest and highest price was for a ticket.

3) Pulling the Trigger: Waiting until a day or two before a Championship game should have already saved you hundreds of dollars. Pulling the trigger on your ticket price at its lowest point is like extra icing on the cake. But do not wait too long as the price will start to climb once the final procrastinators enter the market for tickets.