NFL Football is one of the hottest tickets in whatever town it is being played. From New York to Los Angeles, from London to Mexico City, it can be almost impossible to get a regular game ticket at regular price through the box office.
Of course, there are exceptions. If you are willing to brave the cold and snow in Buffalo, for instance, you can probably go to the stadium on game day and find tickets are available. If you find a game is blacked out in your neighborhood, that means tickets are available. You could eschew high-definition, screen-in-screen coverage for a little fresh air.
The rest of us are left to find legitimate scalpers amid a growing number of fraudsters or use the most popular method of ticket purchases and exchanges today, the internet.
How to get NFL tickets online- the team’s online box office
Not every game for every team is sold out. You should first check if the team has an online box office and see what tickets are available. You will pay only face value, or possibly a small fee for delivery. This is a major savings over resell sites.
If you can wait until the last minute, you might be able to buy tickets at a discount. Teams don’t like to see empty seats. Even if they sell the ticket at half-price, they trust you will buy some food and merchandise.
If you see the game is at risk of a blackout, you know there are a bunch of available seats and a desperate ticket sales manager. Make your best deal.
How to get NFL tickets online- Craigslist
Craigslist remains a worthy resource for just about anything, including NFL tickets. You deal one-on-one, sometimes anonymously, with a seller. For regular game tickets, you can usually find better prices than on some re-sell sites. This might be ignorance or desperation on the part of the seller.
Be careful that the seller is legit. Don’t send money until the tickets are in hand. Since you don’t know who the seller is, set up the exchange in a public place. Be sure to look at the tickets before you pay.
How to get NFL tickets online- ticket exchanges
When teams started selling the best tickets to season ticket holders and eliminated partial season packages, they created a demand for ticket exchanges or resell sites. The good news is that you can almost certainly find tickets to almost any game on these sites. The bad news is you will pay three-to-four times face value, plus service fees.
In most cases, those fees pay for an escrow service, where a buyer pays the vendor for the tickets via credit card or payment service. They hold the money until the buyer says the tickets are in hand. Then they forward your money to the seller.
As with all venues, waiting until the last minute can save you money. Holding out until one week before game time could save you 10-15 percent. If you are willing to risk last-minute deals, you can often find tickets discounted by 30% or more in the day or two ahead of kickoff.
How to get NFL tickets online- team forums
Scan a team’s online forum and fan sites for people trying to unload tickets. You can also start a conversation titled, “need tickets” to let sellers find you. Fans selling on forums tend to be more local, loyal, and desperate than ticket exchange sites.
You can openly negotiate prices or come back to the seller at the last minute to see if the tickets are still available for a lowball offer. It’s not as predictable or regulated, but you can enjoy significant savings through forums.
What are best ticket exchange sites?
Every season, another ticket exchange site seems to come on board. With so many to choose from, how do you know which to choose? A good word of thumb is to pick the ones with the best reputation and track record. There are a few with stellar reputations.
If there is a king of ticket exchanges, it is Stub Hub. They are among the oldest and most reputable sites in the market. They have special arrangements with all the major sports leagues, which gives them some options others might not offer.
They have a well-organized and easy-to-follow web design that puts you in control of your purchase. Stub Hub is consistently one of the highest-rated ticket exchange websites.
- Ticketmaster manages the NFL.com ticket exchange. They have been selling tickets online for almost 50 years and now offer their expertise to ticket exchanges. You will pay for their reputation in their service fees.
- Tickets Now models their site after Ticketmaster’s but also offers live chat support. They can help you find and negotiate ticket prices. They also tack on a significant shipping fee on top of service charges.
- Vivid Seats offers a wide selection of tickets and a very easy site to look through. Like the others, you will pay a service fee.
- Coast to Coast Tickets does not offer the number of tickets that some of the larger sites offer, but they do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If there is an issue with your tickets or the event, they will refund your money.
What if I want to sell my NFL tickets online?
All of the above sites are brokers. They will help you to sell your tickets. Stub Hub has the best reputation among sellers, as well. All the sites have simple input areas to set up your account and list your tickets.
You set your price for what you are selling. Before you set the price, pose as a buyer to see what comparable tickets are selling for. Try not to undercut everybody. Instead, use the costs as a guide. Don’t be shy. You can pay for your season tickets by selling the right pair of games.
The best sites allow you to set up price reductions as the game date gets close. If your tickets remain unsold, you can offer a lower price or even take them off the market and look for other options in the last week or days.
What about the NFL.com ticket exchange?
NFL.com’s official ticket exchange is run by Ticketmaster. If you look for tickets on NFL.com, you will be redirected to the Ticketmaster site.
As the official site of the NFL, Ticketmaster is obligated and has reason to offer a certain level of customer satisfaction, making it a top option to buy or sell your NFL tickets.
There is no other advantage, such as capped prices or selling guarantees. You will also pay standard Ticketmaster fees.
How to get tickets cheaper than the exchange site rates
Other than negotiating with Craigslist users or on a fan forum, or dealing directly with the team’s box office website, there are not many options to find cheaper tickets.
As we already discussed, time is your friend. The later you can wait to commit to buying the tickets, the larger the discounts you will find.
When teams are in danger of being blacked out on local television, there is usually some kind of announcement on the local news or sports stations. Buying tickets to those games can be very inexpensive.
Should your favorite team have game day tickets available, look for games against lesser opponents. Many teams charge more for premium games. This is true in the resale market, too.
One other way to see your favorite team for less money is to wait until they are playing in a less-expensive city. While flying to Arizona to watch the Patriots might offset your savings, a road trip to Buffalo from New England, New Jersey, Philadelphia, or Pittsburgh could save you some money.
Which teams have the cheapest face-value tickets?
While we do not yet have all the ticket price information for every NFL team, the trends have been fairly consistent over the years. Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Cleveland are three of the leastexpensive places to buy face-value tickets.
However, with Jacksonville’s success in 2017, requested re-sale prices rose 86% for this season. Tennessee is a top-ten resale price team in 2017, with a 40% rise in resale prices coming into 2018.
Success does not always dictate face-value prices. Atlanta and Kansas City are among the ten lowest-priced teams to watch. Chicago, fighting against the likes of Green Bay, Detroit, and Minnesota with expected results, is the most expensive ticket in town, with an average price of $132.
Anticipated success is enough to affect the resale market. Houston (26%), San Francisco (31%), Washington (33%) are all selling well ahead of last year’s prices.
Nine NFL teams charge an average of over $100 for a game ticket. Besides the three least expensive teams mentioned above, Oakland, the LA Rams, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, and Cincinnati are the only teams averaging less than $75 per ticket.
What to do?
Despite billion-dollar television contracts, and a unique gate-revenue sharing program that sends all ticket monies to the league, teams continue to defend higher ticket prices by citing their exorbitant payrolls.
Sometimes it seems they only want rich folks in their stadiums, but with a little effort and a little luck, we can find NFL tickets online that we can afford, too. We’ll see you at the game.