Whether you're at the Superbowl or Sesame Street Live, Phil Collins or the Philharmonic, Miss Saigon or Miss America, nothing tops going to a live event. I don't care how big or life-like your 3-D, high-definition plasma television is, it's just not the same. However, tickets for live events can be prohibitively expensive. Even a ticket for a seat with an obstructed view in the nosebleed section can be budget-busting (making the phrase "cheap seats" nothing but an oxymoron). While you're never going to get World Series tickets or fourth-row seats to Lady Gaga for the cost of a Blockbuster night, there are many ways to save money on event tickets. Let me "show" you how:

  • Don't Buy Ticket Insurance: Ticketmaster gives you the option to buy ticket insurance known as Event Ticket Protector for $8.00 per ticket. With Event Ticket Protector, if you can’t attend an event for any covered reason—such as illness, airline delays, traffic accidents and more—you’ll get 100% of the ticket price returned to you. Unless you really need ticket insurance (i.e. you know ahead of time that you may have a conflict the day of the event), opt out of buying ticket insurance—the majority of people who buy it never end up using it.
  • Buy Group Tickets: Many events offer group discounts. So round up a group of your friends and family and enjoy discounted ticket prices. School groups may also receive additional discounts.
  • Buy Season Tickets: Many sports teams and performing arts centers offer season tickets at a discounted rate (the cost of the season tickets is typically less than the sum of buying individual tickets for the entire season). Consider splitting the cost of season tickets with one or more of your friends and then sharing the tickets with them throughout the season.
  • Be Flexible: Tickets for events on a less desirable night (i.e. Wednesday) may be less expensive than tickets for the same event on a weekend night. Similarly, tickets for an event in a major city (i.e. Miami, FL) may be more expensive than tickets for the same event in smaller city a couple of hours away (i.e. Ft. Myers, FL). Consider getting a group together to defray the cost of gas if you decide to travel to an out-of-town show a few hours away.
  • Check Online Daily Deal Sites: Sites such as LivingSocial, Groupon, and Gilt City often sell discounted tickets to live events. Also check out Goldstar: a free online service that makes certain event tickets (including theater, concerts, comedy, and sporting events) available at up to 50% off. Goldstar currently sells discount tickets for events in the following cities: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Inland Empire, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Portland, Richmond, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
  • Utilize your Credit Card Rewards Programs: Some credit cards such as American Express have rewards programs that offer members special discounts on event tickets. Check with your credit card company for more information.
  • Attend Rehearsals: Call your local performing arts center, concert hall, or theater to see if you can attend a rehearsal of a show for a discounted price or even for free.
  • Volunteer at the Event: Call the event organizer to see if there are any volunteer opportunities available at the event. Performing arts productions are often looking for volunteer ticket-takers and ushers. This is a great way to see live events for free and give back to your community.
  • "Work" the Event: If you are a freelance writer or photographer, contact your local paper or other local media outlets to inquire as to whether they will cover the cost of your admission to the event (and potentially even your travel expenses) in exchange for writing a review or providing photos of the event.
  • Attend a Charity Event: Many charity events feature live performances and oftentimes concerts, theater productions, and sporting events have special nights where proceeds from tickets sales go to charity. If your charitable contribution includes admission to a charity ball, banquet, theatrical performance, or sporting event, you can deduct the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received on your tax return.
Thrifty Summer Fun: Ways to Save on Tickets for Concerts,Theater, Sports and More