How to See the San Francisco Giants for Cheap(er)
Our boys in Orange and Black are back and not only are they looking even-year good, they are still adorable. I’m a Bay Area native who is old enough to grumble at you youngins who don’t remember what it was like to be a real Giants fan and freeze your ass off at the dearly departed Stick, but I’ve happily traded the nostalgia of my youth for the fabulous experience of a game at AT&T Park. While it is routinely rated the best and most beautiful stadium in America to see a baseball game, it also regularly ranks in the top 5 most expensive places to see a game too. I love baseball but shelling out hundreds of dollars to see a game has never sat right with me, so I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out the best way to see them for less. Nothing will top the season I managed to go to 12 games without paying for a single ticket, but I recognize that feat is unlikely to repeat itself after three World Series championships. Fingers crossed that the even-year magic will return and here are some cheaper ways to see it happen:
1. Dynamic Deals
21 MLB teams including the Giants use dynamic pricing for their tickets, which similarly to airfare, means the seats you priced out yesterday may have a different price tomorrow depending on the popularity of the game. The Giants make it easy to see which games currently have the lowest prices on their Dynamic Deals page. Currently they have a bunch of games with seats in View Reserve for as low as $9.
The 2015 average price through the Giants box office was $33.78. After market tickets averaged $105.14. With the exception of always high in demand tickets like vs the Dodgers, dynamic pricing usually means that the earlier you buy your tickets the lower the demand. This is particularly true if you buy pre-season or early in the regular season before we start seeing how they are playing. The better they do, the higher prices will go.
Goldstar is a ticket liquidator. They sell tickets at a steep discount to concerts, theatre, sports and events that haven’t sold out and they occasionally get Giants tickets. You can sign up for an account and indicate you are specifically interested in the Giants and they will send you an email whenever they become available. The biggest drawback to Goldstar is you don’t get to see what the seats are before you buy, just the section type, so you are risking being in the very last row.
4. Special Event Night with a Group
Every season the Giants have a slew of special event night, including Autism Awareness Night, Portuguese Heritage Night and Girl Scout Day. For each of these events the Giants set aside blocks of group tickets at discounted prices for organizations connected to the theme. For example, every year I go to Jewish Heritage Night and buy discounted tickets through my synagogue or one of the other 15 Jewish groups that get tickets. Check out the list and find the nights you have a connection too. You always get an awesome giveaway too.
5. Make Friends with Season Ticket Holders
I don’t care how big of a fan you are, there is pretty much zero probability that any one person will make it to all 81 home games. Most season ticket holders I know, unless it’s a popular sold-out game, will sell their unused tickets to friends for face value. At least a few times a month, someone I know posts tickets they aren’t using on facebook. Season tickets typically have a lower face value than seats in the same section would go for individually. If you are really good friends sometimes they even just give them to you.
6. Last Minute Aftermarket
People generally think of aftermarket sites like Stubhub and Seatgeek as the place to get over priced tickets to sold-out events and that is mostly true. Sometimes ticket scalpers get it wrong and end up with too many tickets to a game that hasn’t sold out and in the day or two before the game you can find tickets that are being sold below face value. You have to be willing to make a last minute decision to go to less popular match-ups but there are deals to be had.
The ticket aren’t the only thing that is overpriced at AT&T. As much as I love a hot dog and a beer at the game, it will set you back another $13-20. The garlic fries alone are $8. I have a friend who I see games with who has food allergies so she brings her own food everywhere. I started following her lead and bringing my own snacks too. You can also bring in non-alcoholic drinks in sealed plastic or soft sided box containers. While park rules prohibit bringing in your own alcohol and I would never advocate breaking those rules, there are many many guides and products out there to help you in your pursuit of smuggling in cheap booze.
8. Or Just Go to an A’s game instead
If all else fails, cross the bay and go see the A’s. The Coliseum may be falling apart but the games almost never sell out and everything is a bargain compared to AT&T. They have $5 deal tickets, free parking on Tuesdays and $1 hotdogs on Wednesday and you’ll see some pretty damn good baseball too.