Monday, April 6, 2009

Public Service - How To Watch The Sox In Fenway On The Cheap

If you are a baseball fan of any kind, you'll want to eventually make the pilgrimage to the Mecca of Baseball, a.k.a. Fenway Park. And while the tickets are pricier than most others (although compared to the Yankees' new pricing scheme, they're dirt cheap by comparison), you can still get a good seat with a good view without completely breaking your wallet.

But then there's the parking and the concessions and the adds up to a lot of dough. So, here are my suggestions on how to catch the best team in the new millennium at home without breaking the bank.

1. Don't park anywhere near Fenway - I cannot stress this enough; you are a sucker if you park within sight of Fenway. The lot across the street was charging $50 the last time I looked and I doubt it's any lower these days. If you are driving in, my suggestion is to park at a T stop away from Fenway. North Station is a good one if you are north of Boston, Riverside in Newton off of I-95 if you're coming in from the south or west. Then take the T into Kenmore, walk the quarter-mile to Fenway and save yourself a few bucks.

Estimated Savings: $40.25 - $50 for parking your car near Fenway versus $4.00 round trip from Riverside Station on the T and $5.75 for parking. That's a no-brainer, friends.

2. If you are going to drink, do most of it before the game - Okay, this sounds slightly irresponsible since it reads like I am encouraging you to pound beer. I'm not...however, if you are going to drink, do you want to pay $7.25 for 16 oz. of average beer five or six times over? Or would you rather pop into Boston Beer Works and get 22 oz. of craft brew for $6 or 16 oz. for $5. Or go to Who's On First and get a Bud for a few bucks. Either way, you're saving yet some more dough. Then you just have to buy one or two overpriced brews when you are in the park. And you get to avoid those insanely long beer lines.

Estimated Savings: $9.00 - $43.50 for six beers at Fenway versus four 16 oz. beers at Boston Beer Works and two at Fenway. You could save upwards of $15 if you drink Buds at Who's On First.

3. Eat your main meal outside the park - Although, this may change now that the Sox have frozen their prices for 2009 and are offering a 50% off deal during the first hour the park is open on certain food (Fenway Franks, pizza and the like). So a $4.75 hot dog will go for $2.50. But if you miss that golden hour, you end up paying $10 or more for some dry chicken or a small sub. Your better bet is to grab a sausage outside the park for about $6. Bigger than a Fenway Frank and a lot tastier.

Estimated Savings: $5-10 - Buying a sausage outside the park will get through the first half of the game. Stick to popcorn after that and you won't shell out the big bucks for specialty foods that are overpriced.

4. Don't buy loge seats or specialty seats - You will pay through the nose for seats like these. Loge seats go for $90 while field boxes run you $125. Instead, angle for the lower bleacher seats in Sections 34-36. Those are to the left side of the triangle in center field and allow you to see the entire game. They also only cost $26 each and if you are low enough, you can heckle the centerfielder from the opposing team. I did this quite often when I lived in Boston.

Also consider buying your seats in the Infield Grandstand area down the left-field line and around home plate ($50 each), the right-field roof box ($50) or the right-field box area ($50) provided you are in sections 1,3, 5,7 or 93-97. Any more to the right of Section 93 and you won't be able to see anything in deep center. All three choices will give you a great view of the game. And avoid standing-room seats and anything in deep right. Those are the worst seats in the house. Although if you can snag an Outfield Grandstand seat in Sections 10, 9 or 8 ($30), you may have a decent time, provided a steel girder isn't in front of your face.

Estimated Savings: $40-64 - There are good seats in Fenway for reasonable money. A seat low in the right bleacher section, or a good seat in the Infield Grandstand, is as good as a loge seat and for less than half the price.

5. Don't buy souvenirs in Fenway - Wait until you leave the park. There are multiple vendors outside the park that will sell you Sox gear. And a little further away from the park, you get those independent vendors with their carts and boxes that can sell you gear on the cheap.

Estimated Savings: varies - Depends on what you want to buy. Jerseys are hard to come by and will likely cost close to the same wherever you go. But hats and t-shirts will be a lot cheaper away from the park.

Total Savings: A minimum of $100 - That's some serious money, people. And while some of those savings won't translate across a group (transportation costs), foregoing the loge seat for a cheaper, yet just-as-good seat and doing more beer drinking outside of the park will save everyone in your group a serious amount of money. Even more if you don't drink at all and stick to water.

Even cheaper solution: Drive to Toronto and watch the Sox in Canada - They never sell out so it almost sounds like a home crowd. And the exchange rate is nearing 30% again. It's the baseball equivalent of traveling to Hong Kong for a tailored suit because getting one in New York costs more than the cost of traveling across the Pacific to buy one.


SoxAddict said...

Baltimore is closer and almost as cheap as Toronto too :D

Btw, if you DO go with the parking at Riverside route, you're screwed if the game goes into extra innings because the train shuts down. I can't count how many people I've seen stranded at Kenmore at 2 AM after a Sox game because they thought the trains ran all night.

Dave said...

Good point on Baltimore. And the food there is excellent.

The parking at Riverside...I never thought about the potential for getting stranded because every time I parked there was during a day game. I will say that the odds of being stranded in Boston because of extra innings is slim; it's the post-game partying that nails those people. :) Boston's longest game at home last year was on September 10 when they played Tampa in that 14-inning, five-hour marathon that got out just after midnight. The last "D" line train from Gov't Center outbound leaves around 12:45. Plenty of time to get to Kenmore.

Aviv said...

I'd love to do something like this for Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately the stadium's too new and will require some research ... once I home equity line of credit comes through.

Kevin G said...

The biggest way you can save money on a ticket is to make the weather work for you. Ticket prices on the secondary market drop dramatically with bad weather. If it looks like rain, people will dump tickets. If the game is rescheduled for the next day, those tickets can be had on the cheap, especially if it is part of a doubleheader. This is especially true in April and Sept. If the team tanks (this is more for the Yankees), Sept games will cheap and rainy days you can name your price. If you do go on a bad weather day get the cheaper seats (but non bleachers) and if the score is greater than a couple runs you will be able to move down in the first ten rows by the 6th. I always watch from my seats to see which season ticket holders stand up and then say goodbye to the people around them. That means those seats are free for the taking. One hint, don't be greedy and sit in the first 2 rows. The Sox staff have started going through and checking ticket stubs for those seats every inning. I've seen them do it to little kids in rain in the 9th inning with no one in the park. Thanks Sox.
One more tip. I went to see the Sox at Yankee stadium last year. It was 4th of July weekend which made prices a little less (same with Labor Day). If you wait until the last minute and buy on ebay you can do very well for yourself. For all the stuff I mentioned above I use craigslist.
Anyway, my two cents.
One more thing Aviv, CC Sabathia 12.46