One of the most frequent questions we receive from readers is how to buy spring training tickets. Here’s our overview of the various ways you can buy spring training tickets, from safe and early to speculative and down the road.
To begin with, you need to know that there’s no one date when all MLB teams put spring-training tickets on sale: each team sets a sale date, sometimes with very little warning. (To wit: the Tampa Bay Rays announced on a Monday that tickets would be going on sale the following Friday. The Boston Red Sox have been known to put tickets on sale right after the press release was issued. It didn’t matter: the Red Sox sold every spring-training ticket within days.) And as we’re weeks before any team has released even the hint of a tentative schedule, you have plenty of time to plan.
Working with Teams
Buying a ticket directly from a team will usually be the cheapest and most convenient way to snare a ducat. With popular teams, the selection will be limited. Every team sells spring season tickets-bought mostly by locals and snowbirds-and the best tickets in any spring ballpark are controlled by these season-ticket holders. The MLB teams are also set up best to sell massive amounts of tickets in a short amount of time, as the beginning of spring-training ticket sales can best be described as a feeding frenzy, as tens of thousands of fans rush to obtain tickets for specific games.
There are four ways to order spring-training tickets directly from MLB teams: via telephone, via the Internet, in person, and via the U.S. Mail. We’ll describe each.
- Via telephone. Most tickets are sold via phone sales. This can be a frustrating way of doing things, as you’re likely to encounter some busy signals or long wait times when tickets first go on sale. You’ll also pay a ticketing fee for the convenience of buying tickets.
- Via the Internet. Every team sells spring-training tickets via the Internet. There are some pluses and minuses to this approach. On the one hand, you can bypass clogged phone lines and make your purchases directly (although Ticketmaster has implemented the equivalent of telephone wait times when you buy popular tickets online). And yes, you’ll also pay a ticketing fee for the convenience of buying tickets.
- In person. Most teams sell spring-training tickets at their main ticket office at the major-league ballpark, the spring-training ticket office, or local team stores. The Colorado Rockies, for example, sell spring-training tickets at all six Rockies Dugout Stores.
- Via U.S. Mail. Some teams sell tickets via the mail. You send in your money for a price range, and you take whatever tickets the team decides to send you. Will you receive the best tickets in your price range? Depends on the whims of a ticket rep with the team.
Teams also offer two more ways to obtain tickets that may fit your needs.
If you think you’ll be attending several games, consider a season ticket. Season-ticket packages go on sale weeks before single-game tickets. Usually season tickets are the province of locals and brokers, but if you really, really want some tix for those Red Sox-Yankees games and realize that you have no chance of obtaining a ticket via conventional means, spring for the season ticket and then try and sell tickets to some of the other games via eBay or StubHub.
Other teams offer a break to groups of 20 or more. Again, this won’t apply if just you and your buddies are in a group, but there may be opportunities where you could put together a group (via a church organization, an Internet chat site, etc.) that could buy discounted tickets to a game or two.
Working with Brokers
There is another way to obtain a single-game ticket: through a ticket broker. Good brokers tend to have decent tickets to the best games, and the vast majority of the ducats come from season-ticket accounts. Good brokers are also not shy about telling the world about the availability of the tickets, so if you want to go to a game badly enough, chances are good one of them will step up with a ticket. And these will usually be better tickets, as they’re part of a season ticket, as those accounts are located in prime areas. We work with a vendor to offer after-market tickets at ballparkdigesttickets.com; of course, we’d recommend you start there.
There are pluses and minuses to both approaches. When you work with a broker, you can order tickets well in advance of when MLB teams put them on sale. That makes your planning easier: you know you’ll have a ticket to a game. You will likely pay a little more than the face value for the peace of mind. You can wait until tickets go on sale, and in most cases you’ll get tickets to a game. But not always: teams like the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks sell out the big games early. In those cases, buying from a broker will be your only way to snare a ducat.