Are you a die hard sports fan? I certainly am. My favourite team doesn’t reside in the city I live in, which I know is a problem for many others. I have to travel to see my team play most times. Over the years, I’ve come up with tips and good ideas for travelling to see a sporting event. My favourite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, so the examples I use will mostly be involving them. Here goes!
Where would you like to see them?
Most times I really don’t care what building I’m in, I just want to the the Pens. But for those who do want to see their team in a specific city, get to know where you are going. Research where the building is, and what surrounds it. For example, The Pittsburgh Penguins play at Consol Energy Centre, which is one of the leagues premier arenas. I know there is lots of parking around the rink, as well as a select number of places to eat around there as well. These are all important things to know in the early stages of planning. Do you want to see them on the road? Pull up their road schedule, and find a date range that you have availability, and see where they are. Hopefully there is a date that works!
Where to stay
If you’re going to travel to see your team, look for accommodations that is convenient for you. What I like to do is find a hotel within walking distance of the arena. In most cities this is doable, in some its not, but you can find other means of transportation so you don’t have to drive. Some local hotels do things for patrons attending the game. For example the Cambria Suites in Pittsburgh shares a parking garage with Consol Energy Centre, Its basically attached. Prior to game time they do almost like a tailgating party in the hotel lobby. Drink and food specials, DJ, that kinda stuff. Find the local party. The playoffs is a whole different animal, which I will get into later.
Are you making this into a larger trip around the game?
Multiple city road trip to see more then one game? Looking for more attractions in the cities your travelling too? Ive done both of these. Ive gotten lucky a few times where my team are playing in two, cities close to each other in a short span of time. One night in Columbus, Ohio, and then back home to Pittsburgh two nights later. Allows you to do some exploring in the cities between the games, and gives you decent travel time between cities.
Travelling for another reason? Check to see whose in town!
My coworkers and I have a habit of checking to see if there is a sporting event on our nights off. This allows you to spend a night out with your coworkers and see the local sports team as a bonus!
Where do you buy your tickets?
There are multiple options now a days, most of them being resale. Your best option will always be direct, first hand ticket sales. Most of the NHL uses Ticketmaster for their sales. First hand gives you a few things, guaranteed seats, and the cheapest price. Once tickets hit the resale market, you run the risk of them being fraudulent, as well as the prices being raised way over what face value is. The NHL has an authorized re-sale website which authenticates tickets and resells them for a decent price. Stubhub and seatgeak are options that Ive used with great success!
For those who are crazy fans like I am, this is the time if year we wait for. The playoffs for any sport are a different animal all together. The cities we travel too or live in transform and most aren’t afraid to show their support for their team. But remember, this also affects your travel plans. Road closures, busier bars and pubs, and a the masses descending on the venue areas. Keep all these things in mind when you are planning and travelling to your final destination!