Affording Big Ticket Sporting Events

Written by Frederic Levesque

Monday, July 15th, 2019

I love sporting events. I dream of one day being able to attend the Super Bowl, the 7thgame of the Stanley Cup finals or a World Cup game - in person.

However, these kinds of events can cost an arm and a leg!

Not only can one ticket alone cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but travelling to where these events take place can also be very expensive — think about the various faraway locations of the World Cup in recent years, from Russia to Brazil to South Africa, and in 2022 it'll be in Qatar! So how can these events be affordable?

Travel Expense Tips

The first savings tip I've followed is a well-known one: I set aside money in specific savings accounts. I created a savings account exclusively dedicated to a monthly budget towards sports tickets and a similar account for travel costs.

For the 2018 World Cup, I didn't buy tickets to the event itself. Instead, I travelled to cities in qualifying World Cup countries and joined public screenings, either outdoors or in places that could host a lot of people. This gave me an out-of-this world experience in the company of other excited fans, and it's the second tip I'd recommend to others.

The third tip I followed to keep costs low for this type of trip: I chose cities where friends live and I stayed with them. And where the cities were serviced by low-cost airlines, I managed to save even more. That's how I was able to fly to Stockholm and Copenhagen for a week at the beginning of the World Cup.

My 2018 World Cup Experience

First Stop: Stockholm

Sweden was the country that eliminated Italy in the qualifying rounds. I immediately joined my hosts to watch Sweden's first match against South Korea in one of the largest beer gardens of the city. It was a terrific atmosphere, with hundreds of yellow and blue painted faces welcoming me for the 1-0 Swedish victory. Hard to ask for anything better — aside from an actual ticket to the game.

In the following days, I took advantage of my time away to watch games in other parts of the city. The atmosphere didn't quite reach the feverish pitch of the Sweden match, but Swedish people sure do love soccer.

Second Destination: Copenhagen

Flying with a low-cost airline, I was able to travel to Denmark for only $20 more than the cost of taking the train. I saved four hours of travel time, which allowed me to see more of the exceptional city of Copenhagen. Nicknamed the City of Happiness or Utopia, Copenhagen and its citizens were also buzzing with the excitement of the World Cup.

Through a few online searches, I was able to find a list of the best places in town to watch the games. For the Denmark versus Australia match, I went to Islands Brygge with an old friend. This public site near the water is a popular swimming spot surrounded by architecture unique to Copenhagen.

Once again, the atmosphere was unbelievable during the match, which ended in a tie. It's really incredible to blend into a crowd at this type of event and to talk with people. I discovered that matches were also broadcast outside City Hall, in a public square named Rådhuspladsen. This is where I went to watch the France versus Peru match — by myself, but surrounded by tons of francophones.

A couple tricks to enjoy Copenhagen without losing your shirt: Find free guided tours (I did the same in Stockholm). The city also has an excellent shared bicycle network that costs next to nothing, which is a great way to visit the city using Danish people's favourite mode of transportation.

2026 World Cup: Canada

These were unforgettable experiences that I plan to repeat while I wait for the World Cup to come to Montreal in 2026. Eight years to save enough money for tickets should be enough!

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