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Sporting Events on a Budget

Author: Financial Success | Image: Financial Success

The weather is starting to cool down (hopefully), students are back in school, and that means Cyclone football and other fall sports are here! If you were not one of the lucky students to snag an All Sports Package, or Football Season tickets from the lottery system, there are still some other ways students can save money while attending their favorite sporting event.

For football games, the best “bang for your buck” is definitely the student pass, which comes out to be about $20/game, or $125 total for football season tickets. With most students not being able to make every single game, make sure to ask around and see if you’d be able to snag a friend’s ticket who would be willing to sell their ticket to you at face value (or less!). It is recommended that incoming students enter their name by June 30th in order to be considered for the lottery. Scalping tickets right before kickoff can also be a great way to get a good deal on a ticket. The scalpers are usually willing to bargain with you, but be careful of potential scams! 

There are various reseller websites students can use to buy reasonably priced tickets, such as, StubHub, or Craigslist. If you wait closer to the date of the game, the seller may be desperate to sell their tickets, so they may drop the price in an effort to get their tickets sold as soon as possible. However, buying the tickets online may include a wide range of “convenience” fees that can, in some cases, double the total cost of your ticket. You can usually avoid these fees by purchasing tickets at the stadium box office. If you can’t get to the stadium in advance, order the tickets and have them mailed to you. You may also have some of the fees waived by selecting “Will Call,” or by selecting the option to print tickets from home. These days, it may also be possible to avoid some fees by entering the game using a ticket displayed on your mobile phone.

Timing your purchase can also be important. If you suspect a game will sell out, it may be better to buy early than risk having to pay above face value on a reseller site. This is especially true for NFL games. The longer you wait to purchase tickets for popular games, the more expensive the tickets will become as they are typically in high demand. 

Another budget breaker with sporting events is the cost of stadium food. If you don’t plan ahead of time, you might be stuck shelling out $10+ for a hot dog. We suggest filling up on a big meal before the game to help you avoid food cravings while you’re watching the game. (Hello, endless options for tailgate food!) Beverages can also be very expensive. Jack Trice Stadium lets you bring in one 20 oz unopened bottle of water per person. 

As a student, don’t forget to take advantage of the free admission offers at other sporting events in Ames! Iowa State students receive free admission to all regular season wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball and women’s basketball events (women’s basketball excludes holiday break games). All you need is your student ID. 

Use these tips and tricks to help make your next memorable sporting event fun AND affordable!