ABC News’ Paula Faris reports:
Baseball is a family affair for the Rodrigueses.
Danielle Rodrigues plays softball and her husband, Pedro Rodrigues, coaches their 5-year-old son Maxx’s T-ball team. Their daughter, Madi, 3, loves cheering from the sidelines.
Maxx loves the sport so much, he even sleeps with his glove. But Maxx and Madi have never seen their favorite team – the Red Sox – play in historic Fenway Park.
“It’s a little expensive,” Danielle Rodrigues told ABC News. “We have day care and lots of other expenses, so it hasn’t been a priority yet – but we really want to do it this year because he’s really into baseball.”
For many Americans like the Rodrigueses of Amesbury, Mass., the rising cost of tickets and other expenses related to attending a baseball game is keeping them out of the stadium.
According to the April 2011 Fan Cost Index, a family of four spends an average of $207.80 to go to a Major League Baseball game. That’s totaling the cost of tickets, parking, snacks and a few souvenirs. In some cities like New York and Boston, that price can easily top $300 for a night at the ballpark.
The Rodrigueses planned to go to a game as a family, but didn’t want to settle for bleacher seats or obstructed-view seats. They figured they’d need to spend $500 or more to get seats and pay for all the extras like parking and food at the ballpark.
To help the family score good seats for less, ABC News’ “Real Money” team brought in “pinch hitter” Jack Groetzinger, the founder of the website SeatGeek and an expert on big league deals.
SeatGeek searches dozens of ticket sites and puts the pricing information in one place. The site even ranks tickets with what it calls a “Deal Score,” helping users determine whether they’re getting a good price.
Thanks to some help from Groetzinger and the “Real Money” team, the Rodrigues family knocked it out of the park. Just three hours before a game, they landed $130 tickets for almost 60 percent off face-value.
In the end, the Rodrigueses, armed with the following tips, found $360 in savings – a real home run of a deal.
Below, find some tips to help you save money at the ball park:
1. If you can wait, buy your tickets at the last minute online. Tickets drop big time in the three days before a game, way below box-office prices. SeatGeek searches dozens of ticket sites for deals. You can even log on the day of the game and look for green dots that signal great deals. In some cities, tickets go for $2. “Tickets drop off by as much as 30 [percent] to 40 percent in those last three days,” Groetzinger said.
2. Pay for parking ahead of time. Some parking garages near a stadium charge as much as $40, even $60. Pre-paying online at sites like ParkWhiz.com could save you big time.
3. If it’s allowed, bring your own food. Most teams let you bring food and water to the game. Check your team’s website or call security to be sure, but if it fits in a gallon-size bag, you can usually bring it in.