How to Watch Sports for Less

howtowatchsportsforless.jpgI love watching sports. Especially LIVE in person...

In fact, I go to a couple hockey games per year. And then watch the rest at home.

The main reason comes down to this:

Money and time.

It’d cost thousands of dollars to attend all games during the year. Not to mention the time factor driving to and from the venue, finding a decent parking spot, and the hunt to find your seats.

Then there’s the snacks...And maybe souvenirs, if you’re really splurging.

YES - it’s a thrill to watch a game in person. But let’s face it:

There are cheaper alternatives...

Watching at Home

No doubt about it.

The easiest, most efficient, and cheapest way to watch your favorite sports team is in the comfort of your own home.

What’s more? There are ways to save more money by choosing the right package to watch the games at home.

The question is: what kind sports fan are you?

The Hockey Fan

If you are an NHL fan, there’s a couple of options.

NHL GameCenter LIVE

Rogers offers a package called NHL GameCenter LIVE that allows you to watch almost all games for about $30 per month, including the playoffs. If you subscribe for the full year, it works out to about $15 per month instead. It is available for free for existing Rogers customers that have a ‘share everything’ wireless plan or some IGNITE bundles.

The package gives you flexibility in that you can stream the games from any device and don’t necessarily have to be watching at home on your TV. You don’t need to be a Rogers Cable subscriber either - so it’s a great option for internet only households. But, you’ll want to make sure you have adequate data on your internet plan since streaming any video can use a lot of data.

NHL Center Ice

Another option for hockey fans is subscribing to NHL Center Ice, which is a cable package that shows almost all games (up to 40 per week) on a feed of several different channels. Center Ice is available through major cable providers and costs about $200 per season. Three drawbacks:

  • not all games are included
  • games are shown only on TV, so you aren’t able to stream the games to a mobile device
  • only includes the regular season and the playoff games are not shown.

Related: How To Save Money on TV

The Basketball Fan

If you are a basketball fan, you may be interested in subscribing to the NBA League Pass.

NBA League Pass can either come as part of a sports channel package with your TV service provider, or as a standalone internet streaming service that supports most devices. It allows you to watch up to 40 out of market games per week. The streaming version costs about $150 for the year and the cable version runs about $200.

If you have cable or other TV service and are interested in both NHL Center Ice and NBA League Pass, you may want to check with your cable company to see if the League Pass is included with NHL Center Ice. I have NHL Center Ice and get the NBA League Pass for free.

The Football Fan

In Canada, we’re lucky to have access to NFL GamePass, which gives live and on-demand access to every NFL regular season game, all playoff games, and the Super Bowl - either live or on demand. There is a short delay before you can watch Sunday Night and Monday Night Football games however.

For TV subscribers there is also the NFL Sunday Ticket to consider.

The package costs about $200 per season and due to CRTC market regulations it is available from almost all major Canadian cable companies. It is very similar to NHL Center Ice and allows viewers to catch regional NFL games, and is geared towards fans that don’t necessarily live in the same region as their favorite team (out of market).

In the US only one company has exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket (DirecTV).

The Casual Fan

I like watching all major sports but having to pay over $600 to be able to watch every game? No thanks.

If you are only interested in watching the occasional game and not several games per week you may want to consider adding a bundle of sports channels to your cable package.

Depending on your cable provider a sports package might be added for about $10 per month and would include channels such as TSN and Sportsnet. This is the cheapest option for the casual fan who only watches games occasionally, and the sports bundle can likely be removed from your cable package once the season is over.

If you want to do the same thing online, buddying up with a friend or family member who does have a cable subscription that is willing to share their online access with you is the way to go. Both TSN and SportsNet stream live online for people who have the appropriate TV package.

Related: Free Internet TV - A Complete Guide For Canadians

Watching Games at Pubs

Another option to watch your favorite sports team is to watch the games at a sports pub.

Almost all pubs have sports games being shown in the evenings and many attract local fans that want to watch the game in a fun atmosphere but don’t want to pay for expensive seats in the venue.

Before heading out to a local pub it’s a good idea to do a quick google search to see if they have a website (most do) – some offer different specials each day of the week.

Weekdays usually are less busy, especially Monday to Wednesday.

Weekend games, particularly playoff games, are the most popular and therefore fewer deals are available on food/drinks.

Buying Tickets to Sports Events

Ok. So you’ve decided you want to splurge...No judgment from me if you want to get tickets to watch your favorite sports team live.

The one thing I ask?

Check out these 3 basic tips to find a deal on tickets:

#1. Buy Last Minute

If you are able to, you might want to consider buying tickets last minute. Depending on the game some sellers are willing to sell at a discount if it means they sell the tickets instead of getting stuck with them.

#2. Kijiji or Craigslist

Look for tickets on local online classifieds sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. These sites offer the best deals because unlike StubHub or eBay, sellers don’t have to pay a fee to list the tickets.

When buying tickets on the secondary market (especially online) you’ll want to make sure they are legitimate. You can do this by having the tickets scanned at a ticket outlet or at the venue itself. The best way to make sure the tickets are valid is to arrange to meet the seller at the venue before the game, have them scanned to verify they’re legit and then use the tickets right away to get into the venue.

#3. StubHub and Other Resale Site

Resale sites such as StubHub guarantee that all tickets they sell are 100% legitimate but it comes at a cost – tickets listed on StubHub are often 30% higher than regular online classifieds sites (or more).

StubHub has an app that can be downloaded on any phone and you can also use the app to purchase tickets, eliminating the need for a physical ticket as many of the tickets available are e-tickets that are simply a barcode that gets scanned for entry.

For a more detailed guide on how to save money buying tickets, click here.

What Kind of Sports Fan Are You?

And what ways do you save money watching your favourite sports team?

Leave a comment below.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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