Let’s face it. Ticket prices for sporting events have gotten out of control. Every time you see a headline of some pro athlete getting a record contract, you can be sure that expense will be passed on to fans in the form of higher ticket prices. If you are a true sports fan, you like to watch sporting events in person from time to time. So, how can you enjoy live sporting events without emptying your wallet? If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, or are just visiting, you are in luck. Believe it or not, there are actually a couple of ways to see major sporting events in the San Francisco Bay Area without paying a cent. And they are even legal.
If you like college football, it is possible to watch a Cal Bears game without buying a ticket. Just head on over to the University of California at Berkeley and follow the thousands of fans walking to the game. The campus is very hilly and it is a good hike to get to the football stadium, but you can’t beat the price. Don’t try to get into the stadium without a ticket, because they will not let you in. Just climb up Tightwad Hill and watch the game for free with the rest of the frugal Bears fans. Don’t forget to dress warm and bring a blanket. It can get cold up there during night games.
If baseball is your game, then follow your heart to San Francisco. For less than the price of a sourdough baguette, you can watch the San Francisco Giants play at AT&T Park. Walk around the stadium until you get to McCovey Cove near right field. Find a nice spot along the fence and watch the game for free. You’ll be inches from the right field warning track and have an up-close view of both teams’ right fielders. You can see the whole field, but it will be through the metal links of a chain link fence. If all the spots are taken, don’t worry. They rotate fans in every three innings, so everyone gets a chance to see. If it is not crowded, you can stay the whole game without being rotated out. Be sure to dress warm, because it is windy and chilly out by McCovey Cove.
If you want to see the Giants play, but don’t feel like standing and watching through a chain link fence, there are more options. In Union Square, there is a booth called Tix Bay Area that sells half-price tickets to San Francisco Giants games. You have to buy tickets the day of the game, so allow yourself time to get to the stadium before the opening pitch. Tix Bay Area also sells half-price tickets to plays and shows in the city, in case you want to see something other than a sporting event.
Are you a baseball fan, but not a Giants fan? If so, you can see the Oakland Athletics play and still get a good deal on tickets. On Double Play Wednesdays, you can buy a ticket to an A’s game for only $2. Once you are in the stadium, you can also get a hot dog for only a $1. That is about as close to free as you can get for a sporting event. It kind of takes the sting out of paying $8 for a beer!
When basketball season rolls around, get your collection of hats ready. Once a year, the Golden State Warriors host Chris Mullin Buzz Cut Night. If you arrive early enough at the Arena in Oakland, you can get a free haircut and a free ticket to the Warriors game. You are not going to get just a trim though, so be prepared to see your scalp. The ticket may be free to this sporting event, but the cost is high. You may have to wear those hats for a while.
So, it is possible to see live sporting events without paying top dollar for tickets. With a little planning and a sense of adventure, you can get a lot of action for little or no money. Then, the next time you see a headline for a big pro contract that was just signed; you will know it was not at your expense.