Sporting Events & Concerts
VividSeats scores really high with users in general, and really high with us on their extensive selection. One reason we like them is you can usually find seats not always available via other ticket sellers, like the baseball tickets RIGHT behind home plate. Their fees are built into their shown prices. They also offer a guaranteed ticket, meaning if you show up to an event and something goes wrong, they will find you another set of tickets for that venue.
TickPick is a sort of new front runner in the ticket scene (they’ve been around since 2011) but we love them for their commitment to delivering high-quality customer service, transparency in brokerage fees, no buyer fees, and their dedication to keeping their word-of-mouth reputation positive. This means they will quickly respond to communication requests via phone or email (we have tested this out), charge zero delivery fees for electronic tickets, and have very low service fees. TickPick is not the actual ticket seller (they are second hand sellers just like VividSeats) but if something goes wrong they will guarantee the sale by offering other tickets for the same event in an emergency situation.
StubHub makes it easy to buy or sell tickets using the web or their mobile apps. Event prices are determined by the market-value rate, not through StubHub since they are just a broker. Their fees are built into the prices you see, so you won't get that sticker-shock moment of unexpected extras at the end. They take 10% commission when you sell tickets through the site, but only after the sale is made - otherwise it is free to list them.
FlashSeats is one of my favorite ways to see a last minute sporting event. It's a secondary marketplace where you can search and bid on people's tickets and, if accepted, come out way ahead on below face-value prices for tickets. It's kind of the eBay of entertainment sites, but not all events or venues will be available. Be advised there are no paper tickets, you must have the app with the scannable code or the credit card you purchased with to get into the venue since there are no printable tickets.
Cloud 9 Living is similar to Groupon and LivingSocial in that you can find discount adventures in your local town. They offer different experiences from Groupon and Living Social but still at excellent rates. As a smaller company they seem to be more customer-centric; we are always impressed with companies that take the time to respond to every negative review and compensate customers as best they can – which they seem to do (see their reviews on TrustPilot).
Groupon offers deep discounts on local activities to incentivize consumers to try new places. The win-win is that the businesses want to get people in to try their services or offerings and as a customer you get to test a new place for a bargain. Groupon acts as the middleman to provide these services for no fee to the consumer and a small one to the business. Groupon’s deals need to be scrutinized so that all the details are understood as there can be limitations on dates and each voucher will expire within a certain timeframe.
Living Social utilizes an almost identical model to Groupon, but usually has different places listed. If you are unable to find something at one of these two sites, check the other as they may have what you’re looking for. Both Living Social and Groupon offer discounted travel options as well as shopping for discounted merchandise. Groupon now owns LivingSocial, however the selection between the two still remains mostly separate with a little overlap.
How to Use Entertainment Sites
Buying Guide and Advice
There’s nothing like enjoying the experience of live entertainment, especially if you can swing it for a low cost. We’ve identified some different ways you can save money while expanding your concert, sport, and local-event horizons.
5 steps to make the most of your Entertainment sites:
1. If you know the dates you want to target, start researching average prices for the event/place you plan to go to.
2. Explore multiple site options for the best prices. If purchasing tickets for an event, write down the seating sections for tickets you are considering.
3. If an event, confirm your seat location on the actual location’s website.
4. Use a site which promises a guarantee, this is important in case anything goes wrong and you need a last minute ticket. VividSeats, Ticketmaster, StubHub, & TickPick all are a guaranteed ticket sellers, meaning if you do not get the tickets, they will refund your money or will find you alternate tickets for the event.
5. If you do not have your tickets delivered by the day before the event, call the customer service line of the ticket broker you purchased from. Most of the complaints we have seen were from people who had issues receiving the tickets and didn’t have by them the day before but opted to wait. Call if your tickets haven’t arrived a week prior, so that the ticket company can contact the actual seller and figure out what is going on.
What To Look Out For Using Entertainment Sites
• Convenience Fees – It is not convenient to pay an additional $40.00 for an electronic ticket that took an email and no human intervention to deliver. Be careful when you find what seems like a good deal that there aren’t some outrageous service or convenience charges attached to it.
• Understand the Seating Chart Areas I was burned pretty bad by a scam website when I paid $80.00 a ticket for a GA ticket that looked like it was right in front of the stage, when in fact it was actually at the back of the venue on the lawn. The other people sitting around me had paid $15.00 for the same seats. Be careful to choose a reputable company that has good reviews and reconfirm the seats before purchase with the seating chart from the actual venue.
• Cancellation Policies Most entertainment sites have a pretty strict non-refundable policy. If you are unable to use your tickets, you can always resell them on a site like StubHub or FlashSeats.
Tips and Tricks for Entertainment
✔️ Prices can be better through the actual venue – When tickets go on sale they are usually sold at the best price through the venue that is hosting the event. These are then purchased by 3rd party companies like TicketMaster, and are resold to the public at higher prices. If you can beat the 3rd parties to the punch, you will wind up paying the face value instead of the inflated price. Or, if you can find someone who wants to dump tickets because they can’t go, you can sometimes benefit from lower than face value prices.
✔️ Check fine print & expiration dates – I’ve had more than a few Groupon vouchers expire before I realized it or had some stipulation I wasn’t aware of, (can’t use on a holiday, etc.) Make sure you are reading the fine print carefully so that you aren’t disappointed or surprised when you go to redeem your voucher. Even better, call ahead to confirm that you are able to use it or book a reservation using your voucher ahead of time.
✔️ Cash value on vouchers doesn’t expire – Even if your voucher expires, the cash that you spent on the voucher does not. You can either ask the participating vendor if they will honor the cash value of the voucher, or you can call Groupon, Living Social, other coupon site, to redeem your money (which may be via a credit).
✔️ The early bird doesn’t always get the worm – It sometimes pays to wait until the last minute when it comes to tickets. Although it’s a bit of a gamble, we have found great day-of deals for sporting events where you can snag a ticket from someone who couldn’t make the game and just wants to dump them cheap. If you are able to hold out, check Stubhub or FlashSeats on the day of or a few days prior to the event to see what is available. This does require a high level of flexibility as what is available may not be what you are looking for or there may not be seats together.