If you’re thinking about attending a sporting event, you might think buying tickets right when they go on sale is your best bet. But believe it or not, sometimes waiting until the last minute will get you a much better price—even if the event sells out! In fact, there’s plenty of misinformation out there about the price of tickets prior to an event. The surprising truth is that last-minute tickets are most often the cheapest, especially when you buy from a ticket marketplace.
Fluctuating ticket prices—and the fact that tickets are often cheaper last-minute—stems from the principle of dynamic pricing, in which teams change ticket costs based on the opponent or game date. Supply and demand can have a huge impact on ticket prices, particularly as game day gets closer and sellers are trying to get rid of any remaining tickets. Brokers and season ticket holders often have access to fixed-price tickets for sporting events, so they can resell them for less than what the primary sellers and box offices are offering.
This last-minute rule of thumb can be applied to most sporting events, but there there are still several factors to consider when looking for the best time to purchase tickets for a sold-out game on the secondary market.
How many tickets are available on the secondary market?
The number of tickets still available on the secondary market will inevitably affect the price of sports events tickets. If the demand for tickets isn’t skyrocketing, prices are probably going to stay steady and eventually drop as the event gets closer. This means you’re most likely going to score the cheapest tickets at the last minute, when resellers would prefer to lower the price rather than take a bath.
If you’re searching for tickets to a high-demand rivalry game, prices might actually increase as you get closer to game day, a trend that’s especially true when both teams are performing well. On the other hand, if it’s a down year for your team, you should wait until a few days before the game to get the cheapest tickets.
How’s the weather?
The weather forecast is an important factor to consider when purchasing sports events tickets, as it highly affects ticket prices, especially for for football and baseball games. Ticket prices will rise if an outdoor event, originally expected to be played in bad weather, ultimately ends up being played on a beautiful day. On the other hand, bad weather conditions will keep more people at home watching from the sofa, driving prices down as the events nears, in which case you should wait until the last minute to score the cheapest possible tickets. Knowledge is power, but weather is unpredictable—so just don’t bank too much on it.
In the end, you may not always be at the forefront of getting tickets to a sports event. But even if you see those icky “sold out” words, you should never lose hope. Rely on the above tips, and you just might secure a seat for that event you can’t afford to miss.