Ticket Buying Guide by Ultimate Sports Fan, Andrew

Playoff Games
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  • Guide to Scalping Tickets
  • Championship Games
  • Playoff Games
  • Sold Out Games
  • Everyday Games
  • Second Tier Events
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The second type of sporting event that most people want to attend is a playoff game. As is the case with Championship games, demand drives the secondary ticket prices. However, these games can be in low or high demand depending on when the game is played, who is playing and varies for each sport.

The divisional series games can very greatly in price depending on what day and time the game is played. Tickets go on sale before the playoff schedule is set, which leaves a lot of room for ticket prices to fluctuate. For instance, if your team is the #1 or #2 seed in the AL or NL it is highly likely they will be hosting a weekday afternoon game (unless they are the Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees) – not the highly desired time slot most people can attend. Although the game is “technically” sold out demand will be very low and is a great opportunity for you to get a great price on a ticket (or at least you will not have to sell the tickets you already purchased).

Since League Championship Series tickets are in higher demand, the tickets could be as coveted as Championship Games. Be sure to follow the research steps for a Championship game, yet feel confident that you will probably save money by using the negotiating steps that you would use for Everyday Games.

NFL playoff games are usually in high demand but can surprise you at times. Did you ever think of going to the box office to buy tickets on the day of the game? You would not think you could use this everyday strategy for a playoff game. But for NFL playoff games, be sure to do your “research” before arriving at the stadium. Factors such as game time, location and opponent can vary and drive prices down so you can negotiate much more than you would ever think.

NBA and NHL playoffs are similar in that they have lots of games and more rounds which lead to more opportunities to get into the game and get a great price.

The first round of each league is similar to a regular season game. The only difference is that the game may “technically” be sold out. Let that deter others – just not you. Do research before the game to determine the demand for tickets for the game. Then negotiate with ticket scalpers outside of the arena on the day of the game. Of course, as teams advance and demand for tickets increases, you will not be able to negotiate as easily, but research ahead of time will save you money along the way.

College Football
In the absence of a true college playoff, there is a lot of excitement around college bowl games. But do not let excitement push you to buy your ticket in advance unless we are talking about a BCS game. In reality it is difficult for the bowl games to sell out given the two schools are traveling far distances in order to be there. Even though a lot of fans may travel, the demand will not be high enough to warrant purchasing tickets ahead of time – I do not care how good you think your team is.

College Basketball
For the men’s NCAA Tournament you need a round by round strategy.

First Round: The first session of the first round takes place on a Thursday or Friday afternoon – meaning tickets will most likely be under face value as people realize they cannot take off work in order to go. But if your team plays in the second session (which is always at night) do not worry. Most teams are playing outside of their hometown location which works in your favor. Research online and around the arena and be ready to negotiate for the best price.

Second Round…Their Loss is Your Gain: In the second round of the NCAA Tournament, you can benefit off the grief of losing fans. Once a team is eliminated, their fans will want to unload their tickets for the next round for cheap. Sad for them, good for you. Unless you are already attending the first round, you will have to make a special trip to the arena. In terms of savings, it may not be worth the trip for second round games but it will be worth it when this strategy comes in handy for later rounds. If you cannot make it to the stadium, stay on the alert for online deals.

NCAA Regional Semifinals: This could be the most difficult round of the NCAA tournament to buy tickets on the secondary market. With all four teams playing in one session, fans of all the teams will be attending and in competition for the same seats. This is a time where you may have to pay more than you want, but good research online will allow you to save some money.

If the event is played in a larger venue (i.e. a football stadium) then demand for tickets will be less and it should be much easier to buy tickets to the event.

NCAA Regional Finals…Their Loss is Your Gain: Similar to the second round, as teams are eliminated from the regional semifinals, their fans will want to sell their ticket for the regional finals. The savings here can sometimes be substantial (especially if the games are taking place in an arena rather than a stadium) and maybe worth a special trip to the arena after the regional semifinals are over.

Final Four Semifinals: The myth with the Final Four is that it is difficult to buy tickets for the event. However, generally these events are generally held in football stadiums – meaning that 70,000+ people are planning to attend. This excess supply means you may still pay over face value but it will not be the high prices that the news will lead you to believe.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game…Once Again, Their Loss is Your Gain: Surprisingly, tickets to the championship game will not be as difficult to purchase as the final four semifinals. First and foremost two teams are out of the tournament and those fans are willing to part with their tickets for a lower price. Second, the Championship game is held on a Monday evening rather than the weekend. With less demand and a bit of inconvenience, ticket prices are usually driven down. Look to get a good deal.