With Spring Training and Opening Day just around the corner, I’ve started considering which San Francisco Giants games I’d like to attend this season. When I look at the season-long schedule there are generally some that stand out to me. I like to see a Dodger game if possible, I like to see an Inter-League game, I like to see my Pirates play, and just generally look for what will likely be a good match-up. Those games aren’t so hard to plan in advance.
What is harder is planning the times when I really need a Giants baseball fix, a spur of the moment, “Let’s go to the game this weekend” kind of thing. In fact, if it were 100% up to me, most of the games I attend would be like that. However, I have the luxury of marrying a planner. The one who stood in line our entire day at Fan Fest last year to get tickets for a couple of games. I appreciate that he is a planner, but as I mentioned in that article about Fan Fest, you can always get tickets, sold-out or not. So I thought I’d share some of my experience on getting tickets for Giants games.
Advice on Buying SF Giants Tickets (or any MLB team)
Rule #1: If it’s Opening Day, a Dodger series, an Inter-League game, or Philly is in town, expect to spend money or stand in ridiculous long lines. This is how we got tickets to see the Giants and Phillies last season–by standing in line at Fan Fest in February. Worth it? Not sure.
Rule #2: If you can swing it, go to a mid-week game, day game if possible. It will save you time and money. It’s also not nearly as crowded and makes for a pleasant day.
Rule #3: Sold out never really means sold out (almost never). Stubhub always has tickets. Most of the time, they are sold by season ticket holders and unless its a premium game, are usually reasonably priced. Could you have saved money by planning a bit in advance? Probably, but usually not enough for it to make much difference.
Rule #4: Want to avoid Stubhub fees? Find a season ticket holder in your social circle and buy tickets from them. Friend of a friend of a friend? Doesn’t matter. They will gladly sell you tickets for games they aren’t attending in order to make back some of the insane amount of money they spent on them in the first place.
Rule #5: Craigslist is a great place to buy SF Giants tickets.Craigslist doesn’t have to be scary. We’ve all heard stories of Craigslist Killers, but the truth is, I’ve never heard of someone getting killed while trying to by baseball tickets. You avoid seller fees and you can actually negotiate and prey on their heart by telling them how it will be your first baseball game ever. True baseball fan will love that. But use common sense of meeting someone from Craigslist. Do it in a public place, take someone with you, and remember all the things your mama taught you about strangers. Also, don’t take candy from them.
Rule #6: The closer to game time, the best chance you have at getting a deal. This works whether you use Craigslist, Stubhub, season ticket holders, or street scalpers (more on that in a second). If the game is less than a day away, or even a few hours, people will get desperate to sell their tickets and all of a sudden your low-ball offer for their crappy, way upper-deck, tickets sounds a lot better. This is a good plan if you don’t have a lot at stake in going or not going to that particular game. You can walk away no worse than when you started.
Rule #7: This is last, but is very important. Street scalpers can be scary, but they aren’t all bad guys. By nature, they can be extremely aggressive and often times will follow you. Keep walking until you hear a number you want. Be honest about what you want up front and don’t let them bully you into paying more than you want to, but be realistic. They are there to make money. I’ve had better luck with the ones farther from the park, near the Cal-Train station. They tend to be less scary and easier to deal with. However, the ones near the park are brutal and very territorial. Be prepared for it and stick to your guns. If the thought of scalpers scare you, but it’s your only option left, find someone who knows what they are doing to help, or seek out the normal looking people shyly holding up tickets like they are afraid of getting caught. Those are regular folks who honestly happen to have an extra ticket and will likely sell it to you for face value.
Anything I missed? Other questions? Other suggestions? Feel free to comment below!