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Have you ever returned from a professional football game to find yourself wondering if your $60 seats in the upper deck were really worth it? Does paying $20 for parking and $8 for a small beer leave a bad taste in your mouth?
If so, it’s time to reconsider your attendance – if not your allegiance – to some of the top-tier professional sports teams. In fact, there are some amazing professional athletes you can see performing for free, or very close to it.
Here are the five best bargains in professional sports…
1. Bicycle racing
Picture this: You and all of your friends are being invited to a playoff game for free. When you arrive, you’re escorted onto the field, where you can cheer on world-class athletes competing just inches away from you.
That’s the experience I had in August when attending the USA Pro Cycling Challenge bicycle race in Colorado, where attendance is free and spectators are allowed on the field of play. You can find a list of all mountain and road bike races in your area at the website for USA Cycling.
2. Minor league baseball
With some cheap seats selling for less than the price of a movie ticket, Major League Baseball is already one of the least-expensive professional sports. When you attend a minor league game, the seats are even less expensive – and better.
Not only that, you can be assured that the up-and-coming players are giving it their all in an effort to be called up to the big leagues. While minor league teams used to be found only in small towns, many AAA affiliates are now located in the suburbs of major cities. You can search for a local team at this website, and you might be surprised to learn there’s one not too far from you.
3. Women’s basketball
Hardcore basketball fans will tell you that women’s ball as played in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a different game than the men’s. While the men will try to charge through their opponents and dunk the ball, the women’s game is more thoughtful and strategic. More importantly, it’s also an inexpensive way to enjoy professional sports with your daughter or son.
When David Beckham joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, many concluded that professional soccer had truly arrived in the United States. Today, soccer is still a growing phenomenon that’s relatively inexpensive. If you haven’t been to a Major League Soccer game lately, you’ll be stunned to see how excited the crowd is.
The United States is home to both indoor and outdoor lacrosse leagues. Taking place in football stadiums and basketball arenas, Lacrosse is a fast-paced game with plenty of hard hits. The excitement of a pro sporting event and the experience of visiting a major league stadium is all that’s necessary for kids to have a fun (and affordable) night out with their parents.
When you grow tired of spending your hard-earned money to see spoiled athletes who can barely bring themselves to agree on their multimillion-dollar contracts, it may be time to look for a new pastime. Fortunately, there are still many emerging sports that are both exciting and inexpensive to attend.