This is no news flash, but times are tough. Families around the country are buckling down and cutting back on spending wherever they can and trying to avoid shelling out big bucks for luxuries instead of needs. Attending sports games is probably not that high on anyone's list who is cutting back costs, but people are still attending games for the most part. Wrigley Field has been pretty well filled despite an awful product on the field and high priced tickets. The Bears jacked single game ticket prices to over $100 for nosebleed seats and yet you would be hard pressed to find two seats together on Ticketmaster to any of their regular season home games. The White Sox have had steady crowds as of late and have even cut ticket prices in order to get a bigger paid attendance crowd to their upcoming games. Blackhawks tickets went on sale and sold relatively well but with the fear of a player's lockout looming and the possibility of cancelled games the first few months of tickets were still readily available. Tickets to the Bulls have yet to go on sale but without Derrick Rose until at least January it is hard tell if the fans will come out and support a team who has cut salaries and traded away a lot of fan favorites in the off-season. With all that said if you have extra cash to spend and you can choose any game to go to, which team are you supporting with your hard earned money? Let's take a look at each team's ticket prices as well as discounted tickets, big games, and the best places to find cheap seats.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
With the Sox in a pennant race and atop the A.L. Central standings there is plenty to be excited about on the South side as the baseball season goes into the final month of the regular season. The Sox have has trouble with attendance this season but have cut ticket prices in order to lure more fans to the gates. With big games against division rivals and playoff contenders still on the schedule, there is plenty of reason to check out the boys in black if you have the means.
Sept 3-5 Minnesota Twins, $10-65+
Sept 7-9 Kansas City Royals, $10-75+
Sept 10-13 Detroit Tigers, $5-65+
Sept 24-26 Cleveland Indians, $10-65
Sept 27-30 Tampa Bay Rays, $5-75+
BEST VALUE: Wednesday September 5th, Minnesota Twins, $2.98 on Stubhub (excluding tax and shipping)
Final Verdict: The White Sox have been great all season and with the season winding down and some big games on the horizon now is the best time to attend a game. With tickets as low as $5 on the Sox website it’s a hard bargain to pass up. Re-seller sites like Stubhub are also a great place to find value as season ticket holders typically sell tickets to games they aren't attending. You can also pick and choose the section and price range you want to stay in to avoid overspending.
Despite a woeful season the stands in Wrigley have been relatively full. That doesn't mean the product has been any better. The Cubs still boast one of the worst records in baseball, have a virtual minor league team as their every day roster and yet continue to have one of the most expensive tickets in baseball. As far as worst value for a ticket price, I can't think of anything worse at this point. However, if you are dead set on seeing the Cubs at the Friendly Confines this season here are some key dates, opponents and prices to be aware of to avoid shelling out big bucks.
Sept 14-16 Pittsburgh Pirates, $19-250+
Sept 18-20 Cincinnati Reds, $8-100
Sept 21-23 St. Louis Cardinals, $19-250
Oct 1-3 Houston Astros, $8-111
BEST VALUE: Monday October 1st, Houston Astros, $1.80 on Stubhub (you read that right)
Final Verdict: Avoid the Cubs website like the plague if you are looking for tickets. The ticket prices are still outrageous for the most part with bleacher seats fetching $50 (!!!) You are much better off trying the second tier ticket re-seller websites where tickets are drastically cheaper. The ability to find lower 200 level seats for cheaper than the price of a gallon of gas alone is worth considering. Do yourself a favor and hop on the Red Line to avoid the price gouging neighborhood parking and you could probably see a Cubs game for under $50 depending on your food and drink needs.
The Bears first regular season game is officially one week away and with a team that many expect to make the playoffs and contend for a Super Bowl, you better believe tickets ain't cheap. With only eight regular season games the Bears are easily the most sought after and hardest to find tickets in town. Most seats available on the Bears' website and Ticketmaster are single seat tickets so finding multiple cheap tickets together is rather difficult. With nosebleed seats at Soldier Field clocking in at a staggering $108 it may be easier to find cheaper tickets if you are willing to hop in the car for a mini road trip and see the Bears play a nearby opponent.
Oct 7 @ Jacksonville Jaguars, $50-270
Nov 4 @ Tennessee Titans, $35-257
Dec 9 @ Minnesota Vikings, $20-155
Dec 23 @ Arizona Cardinals, $30-250
Dec 30 @ Detroit Lions, $47-240
BEST VALUE: Sunday November 4th @ Tennessee Titans, $35 on Ticketmaster
Sunday October 7th @ Jacksonville Jaguars, $45 on Stubhub
Final Verdict: I know what you're saying, "where are the home games?" but the sad truth is I honestly can't recommend going to see a game at Soldier Field. Not because it's not a great place to see a game because it is, but unless you don't mind buying four tickets and having you and your buddies sitting in individual seats at over $108 each in different sections then it isn't worth it to pursue home game tickets. The only game I found seats next to each other on Ticketmaster were running for over $300 a pop and in an article preaching value with your money, it's just not there. If you want to spend your money on a Bears game the best option is to make a trip out of it and visit relatively close games in Detroit, Minnesota and Tennessee. Unless you can win tickets or get them from a co-worker for cheap, it is awfully hard to find tickets under $100 a ticket to a game at Soldier Field. The prices at Soldier Field are sadly pushing the blue collar fans out and allowing only the white collar fans to be able to afford to see the Bears live.
With the realistic possibility of a player's strike in the NHL it is hard to determine what games are the best value considering the possible work stoppage could postpone or even cancel games for weeks, months, or even the entire season. Luckily, if a lockout does occur and cancels any games all tickets are fully refundable no matter where you purchase your tickets from. The best way to avoid a locked out game is to look for games in the second half of the season, preferably March or April.
Oct 18 Colorado Avalanche, $34-450
Apr 1 Minnesota Wild, $34-450
Apr 4 Nashville Predators, $34-450
Apr 7 Columbus Blue Jackets, $34-450
BEST VALUE: Any of the games listed above through Ticketmaster
Final Verdict: The Blackhawks have it right when it comes to listing availability to their games. Their website has a listing of every home game and a category for which games have the most tickets available, which have some, and which are almost sold out. As far as navigation, it is easy to pick and choose your tickets. The secondary market tickets are a bit pricier and will fluctuate as the season goes on. If you don't mind waiting to go to a game in later in the season and you want seats instead of standing room only, then the best value is in any of the games listed above.
This is probably the hardest ticket to gauge. Without Derrick Rose it is difficult to know how hot a ticket the Bulls will be. Tickets aren't on sale through the Bulls until October 5th so there is plenty of time to save up some cash and get your hands on some tickets. Any tickets on the re-seller websites are season ticket holders, but there is still value in some of the seats available. Depending on how the Bulls play without Rose will play a large role in ticket availability and price on the secondary market.
Oct 5 Memphis Grizzlies (PRESEASON), $5.90-200
Oct 23 Oklahoma City Thunder (PRESEASON), $12-200
Nov 6 Orlando Magic, $29-450
Nov 10 Minnesota Timberwolves, $28-450
BEST VALUE: Tuesday October 23rd, Oklahoma City Thunder (PRESEASON), $12
Final Verdict: I know my best value pick is a preseason game but to get to see Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and the rest of the runners up to the NBA title for only $12 is a bargain. As I said before, single game tickets don't go on sale until October and tickets will range from $38-290. Best advice is to take a look at the schedule before tickets go on sale, jot down games you want to see and check what tier they are in pricing. If you're dead set on seeing a Bulls/Heat game then be prepared to dish out some heavy dough, but if you don't care who the Bulls play then check for the lower tier games where the value is really at. That strategy has never failed me when it comes to saving money but getting to see the Bulls for the best possible price.
There you have it, the best values for each major team in Chicago. Hopefully this helps you make your decision a little easier when it comes to choosing which sporting event you want to see. The best value overall in my eyes is a White Sox game. In the midst of a playoff push it is hard to argue that $5 isn't a great deal to see one of the best teams in baseball. By far the worst value is the Bears. I know that with only eight regular season games that the price will be expensive but with HDTV's, instant replay, live game look-ins, NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL RedZone, fantasy football, and countless other things that you can't find while in attendance at a Bears game it is hard to find value in a $100+ ticket for each person.
So which team are you likely to spend your hard earned money on? Where do you draw the line when it comes to ticket price? Are you willing to shell out big bucks if there is a game you "must see" live? Leave your feedback in the comments section; I'm interested to hear where everyone stands on this hot button topic.
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