Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Game On A Budget

blue jays

This week I attended a Toronto Blue Jays game and challenged myself to do it on a budget.

When I ask my friends why they haven't made it out to a baseball game lately, the answer is always cost. That makes sense since attending a Blue Jays game has been ranked as the 6th most expensive in all of MLB (that's out of a total of 30) for the last few years. I felt bad for my friends as I know they too are baseball fans.

The more I thought more about it I realized that I have been using this same reasoning for not attending a game, which accounts for why I haven't attended a game this year! Whenever AMH would bring up heading to Toronto for a game, I would think of how much it would cost and we'd end up doing something else.

No more. This baseball loving girl needs to get out to a game #girlslikebaseballtoo! My idea of a perfect day is spending a lovely summer day out at the ballpark so I needed to correct this but I would need to do things differently. I needed to do this on a budget.

I thought about all the baseball games I have been to, then talked to a lot of people at my work (luckily I work with a lot of baseball fans and they were a huge help in creating this post!) and we came up with what I believe to be a standard list of purchases while attending a baseball game. They are:

Ticket
Parking/Transportation
Food/Snack
Drink (Alcoholic and non-alcoholic)

There are also two additional items that generally seem to come up in relation to attending a game but in reality you can skip them to keep costs down. I'm including them because I do think I've found some cheaper alternatives. They are:

T-shirt
Souvenir

I'm going to breakdown what I did on this visit to the Toronto Blue Jays but you can use this information and tips to attend any other team game!

Ticket - My spend $27 single ticket.


Three things attributed to getting such inexpensive tickets; the seats were in the 500 level, it was a mid week game, and it was a day game 12:37pm.

When you are looking at purchasing tickets you will notice that prices can go up and down depending on who they are playing (BoSox and Yankees games are always the most expensive) and even though there is a famous rivalry between the Jays and the Texas Rangers (bat flip heard throughout the world!) the tickets were still reasonable. If you're not fussy on who the home team will be playing, you can score a few deals by seeing them play less popular teams.

Day games are cheaper for a few reasons. They reduce the price of the ticket to entice more people to attend, since most people will attend on weekends, but it also reduces how much you will eat and drink while there which can add up to real savings.

If sitting in the 500 level doesn't work for you (sometimes you just gotta be close to the action!) you can always purchase a ticket at a savings through resellers. If it's close to game time, some online sellers are willing to let more expensive tickets go for a big discount, but that takes a lot of coordination and you have to be willing to live by the seat of your pants. That's not how I roll.

I've found great deals on 100 level seats through online postings at work, Kijiji/Craigslist and through StubHub. Season ticket holders are great at letting go of some of the games they can't attend and because they are season ticket holders (some for many, many years!) they always have great seats! You might pay a little more than my $27 ticket, but you'll still be getting a discount.

I like to start the game out in my seat. By the third, I'm itching to do a little exploring. Our seats were not bad at all for 500 level but I wanted to get closer to the action to take some pictures. So many fields have a standing room area on their first level and the Blue Jays are no exception. Head to the Westjet Flight Deck for as multi level party deck with tables to hold drinks and food while you snap some fantastic pictures.


Vladimir Guerrero Jr up to bat, view from my 511 section seats


View of the game from a standing room only area near the Westjet Flight Deck


Parking/Transportation - My spend $26


My biggest pet peeve is paying for parking, especially in major cities. The prices are insane! My favourite way to avoid paying $30 to park is to take public transportation. For this week's game some coworkers and I carpooled to a train station and bought round trip tickets for the day. It worked out to about $26 but we live a little more than an hour away from the city. For you folks that live closer, the cost of taking the subway, train or bus would be greatly reduced.

For the times when you need your car, Google search parking garages near the field and compare prices. You can even Google the team name and 'cheap parking' and you just might find some helpful tips from different threads and blogs. The further away from the field, the better. You might have to do a little walking, which in a beautiful city such as Toronto is not a problem.

Food/Snack - My spend $23.75 plus tax and tip


Now we're getting to the truly expensive stuff, food and drinks!

For the Toronto game, I managed to not only eat relatively cheap, I managed to make it delicious and healthy! A few years ago, the Rogers Centre (aka The Skydome) undertook a bit of a renovation on the 100-level. They opened Muddy York Market which is a large marketplace where you can grab prepared sandwiches and salads or order from their rotating menu of hot items. I opted for a turkey sandwich which cost me $13.75 plus tax. The Rogers Centre also has a listing of vendors who carry items for those with dietary restrictions. For other fields, check their website food and beverage listings.

I thought that $13.75 was good, but I was hoping to do better. And then I found out about the Dugout Deals concession stand where every item is under $5, including beer!

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Beside section 536 (also 137 & 239) you can get a hot dog for $3, nachos and cheese for $5 and pretzel bites for $5.

After you have had your fill of hotdogs, you can get a small popcorn for $3, chips for $2, freezies for $3, soft serve ice cream for $3 or even an iced capp from Tim Horton's for $3.50.

Does the idea of eating yet another hot dog fill you with dread? While I love this portable meal, I have had my fill of them this summer. Another inexpensive way to eat while at the game is to bring your own food.

"Rogers Centre allows guests to bring outside food into the stadium as long as the items are wrapped, bagged or left inside a container to avoid spillage. Food containers must comply with bag policy and are soft-sided and small enough to fit under the guest's seat.

Plastic bottles and/or cans holding 600ml or less and non-alcoholic beverages will be permitted in Rogers Centre. Guests are strictly prohibited from bringing outside alcohol inside Rogers Centre. Plastic bottles holding more than 600ml and glass bottles are prohibited. Glass or metal bottles are not permitted.

Fans will be asked to remove tops from a bottle(s) or open can(s) prior to entry into the stadium."

That's a direct quote from the Rogers Centre Information page. At a game last year I was surprised to see the couple behind us eating Subway. We asked where they bought it and they told us how you can bring in outside food as long as it follows the above requirements. Make a few sandwiches, pack some fruit into a soft sided cooler and bring a refillable water bottle. It doesn't get any more budget friendly than that! 


Drink (Alcoholic and non-alcoholic) - My spend $10


Beer for $5 at a baseball game? It's true! A can of 355ml Budweiser or Bud Light only costs $5 per can, maximum of two per person, per purchase. That's a fairly big savings compared to the $12 - $14 (depending on brand) price of a tallboy. At the Dugout Deals concession (Sections 137, 239 & 536) you will find a line just for beers.

An extra tip - The line can get long for cheap beers. Wait until the Jays are batting and everyone is in their seat watching. I managed to walk right up, grab two beers and was back in my seat before the first out.

Beer not your thing?

toronto blue jays

Sign up as a Budweiser Good Sport, which is their designated driver program. You'll receive a coupon for a free non-alcoholic Budweiser Prohibition Brew or a 24oz. Soft Drink. That's a savings of $6.50 right there!

If you're working hard on getting your eight glasses of water a day in, bring a refillable plastic bottle, 600ml or less, and fill at the drinking fountains

Drinking fountains
100-Level: near Sections 107, 115, 125, 137
200-Level: near Sections 207, 209, 229, 241
500-Level: near Sections 507, 517, 529, 541
Wine and mixed cocktails are the most expensive drinks you can order ($10-19) save those for a special night out at your favourite restaurant.

I spent $34.75 (plus tax & tips) but I could have done this a lot cheaper. I could have purchased a hot dog, freezie and used my free beverage coupon and only spent $6.

Even cheaper, I could have brought my lunch and a plastic reusable bottle for water.

T-shirt


The cheapest and easiest way to buy a team t-shirt is to do this before you attend the game. American Eagle is stocked with baseball shirts right now for men and women, for well under $20 (I'll include a shoppable widget below) Sports stores, online shops, discount retailers (think Target in the States, Winners/Marshall's in Canada, Wal-Mart for both countries) Once you are at the game you can expect simple t-shirt to start at $30 and go all the way up to $200 for a player jersey.



If you know that a baseball shirt will go totally unused in your closet, head to Old Navy or Gap and buy a t-shirt in the colour of your team! You'll still show team spirit and you have a greater chance of rewearing all for around $10.

baseball

You can also buy a t-shirt from my friend Malcom of The Ballpark Guide. For $20 grab a "Fastballs, Walk offs, Hotdogs and Road trips" t-shirt in your team colour. I wore mine to my last Jays game and everyone was asking where I got it! It also makes a great off-duty gardening t-shirt, just sayin'.

Of course the cheapest route is to wear something already in your closet that matches! That's $0 right there!

Souvenir


Celebrating something special like a birthday, anniversary or even your first ball game? Pick up a Commemorative Game Certificate at any Fan Services location. Cost? Free!

Another free momento is grabbing a pocket schedule. They are the little paper calendars that show you who the home team is playing over the Regular Season. We grab one from every game we ever go to! It's fun to see our little stack build and build.

If you're looking for something a little more substantial, the best buys are keychains and baseballs. They come in at just under $12 and are probably the cheapest item you can pick up at the game.

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Taking a picture is free and makes a great souvenir! 


My total for the day comes in as

Ticket - $27
Parking/Transportation - $26
Food/Snack & Drink - $34.75
T-shirt - Already owned
Souvenir - Free paper schedule

For a grand total of $87.75. If I had brought my own lunch or ate before the game, my total would be only $53 which for an MLB game is not bad at all!

So how did I do? Have I convinced you that you can attend a Blue Jays game, or any of the other 29 teams, games on a budget? Think you can do better? Let me know in the comments below! 

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