With snow pelting my window, my thoughts turned to buying cheap Major League Baseball regular-season tickets. Bless my discount-minded and proactive self: I found incredible deals at StubHub, the MLB-partnered marketplace. Teams have not made single-game seats available on their websites, so you can get more than a week's head start in many cases. Aren't you feeling warmer already?
"Prices are reasonably priced just due to the fact that it's early on," StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer told WalletPop. "Not too many people are thinking about MLB on their radar."
At 1 p.m. Wednesday, I found tickets for as low as $2 a pop in mid-April for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the majors' 2009 attendance leader, and $4 for weekend games against their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. Even with a 4.95 fee for electronic printout and the site's 10% tack-on, that's a steal. The average price for a Major League Baseball ticket in 2009 was $26.74, according to a Team Marketing Report Survey.
Even the world champion New York Yankees showed low-price tickets for baseball's opening month. That's saying something for an organization that was taken to task last season for its $72.97 per-ticket average. StubHub showed $10 tickets available for the Yanks' weekday April 14 and 15 series against their playoff nemesis, the Los Angeles Angels, and tickets between $11 and $16 for the Bronx club's April 16-18 weekend with the Texas Rangers.
Can't wait that long?
For the Mets, April 8 tickets for visiting Florida could be had for $8, inching up to the low double digits for the Amazin's' first full 2010 weekend at Citi Field, against the Washington Nationals. The Mets' charged an average of $36.99 per ticket last season. The Cubs, notorious for scarce tickets in cozy Wrigley Field, had $5 and $6 tickets available for mid-April at the site.
Our gentle disclaimer: The aforementioned are not prime viewing and you should know that StubHub listings can either be above, equal to, or below face value. (It's like eBay for events.) But merely getting into the ballpark has been a struggle for many of us.
So I was tickled to dig up happy news on a depressing weather day. Bargain tickets for seven of the nine teams that drew more than 3 million fans last season, including the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels (as low as $4), appeared on StubHub when I checked. The two exceptions: Nothing less than $16 for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park (39,928 capacity, the majors' smallest) in April, and that's just for one game, April 20, against the Rangers. StubHub showed nothing under $16 for the National League champ Phillies either until their sixth home game, on April 20. There were no seats less than $16 in the entire month of April for Colorado, which ranked 11th in attendance.
Given the variables -- bad weather, a poor start, injuries to stars, unpredictable supply and demand -- what StubHub's Ferrer called a "dynamic marketplace" could change. Daily.
"Many listings on the site are from season ticket holders that cannot feasibly attend every single home game," she explained.
Best advice from WalletPop: Start surfing for tickets before the snow melts and baseball fever heats up. And there's always spring training.