Like most of us, Kevin Walsh was having trouble staying interested in Monday’s BCS national title game, so he began surfing around StubHub. Not surprisingly, he found plenty of tickets to Tuesday’s Wizards-Raptors game for less than $10.
The next afternoon, Walsh — a 23-year old who lives in Frederick — was with some friends, thinking about going to see “The Devil Inside.”
“We had already done pretty much everything there is to do for free in Frederick,” he explained to me. “If you’ve ever been to Frederick, there’s not really a whole lot to do. Those of us who don’t have real jobs yet, who are fresh out of college, we’re off on Tuesdays and not Saturdays. So we were sitting in a parking lot, trying to decide what to do.”
And so Walsh looked at StubHub again on his phone. Tickets for the Wizards game were down to 50 cents apiece. A ticket to the movie would cost $11. That made up his mind.
“Even with the instant download fees, it was cheaper to go to the Wizards game with four people than for myself to sit and watch a movie I didn’t really want to see,” he noted.
So he went home, to order some NBA tickets and print them out. By the time he got there, the price had dropped to 30 cents. Of course, had he kept looking, he might have gotten an even better deal.
“Three tickets, center court upper level (section 400), 4th row,” someone advertised on Craisglist. “Face value is $30 each. Will sell for $5 each, however if you were to forget to send payment via PayPal, I would not be heartbroken. I will email the tickets once I hear there is someone willing to attend the game. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch Javale goaltend, Dray shoot 18 footers and The Nick Young baseline ballet, all against a team from Canada. Folks, it doesn't get much better than this.”
Walsh didn’t see that ad, though, so he and his friends used some free Metro cards, and headed to D.C., in possession of four tickets that a season-ticket holder had cost a season-ticket holder $25 per.
“It was pretty surreal,” he told me. “Me and three of my friends got in for about the price of a McDouble. Not even a Double Cheeseburger; a McDouble!”
The seats were behind the basket in the 400 level. The four friends didn’t try to move down a level, but they did scoot around to a side view, since there wasn’t a ton of competition for good seats. They reported plenty of legroom, and a generally good-natured crowd that was happy to support the home team.
“Except they’d boo Andray Blatche every other play, because he takes random jump shots and thinks it’s a good idea,” Walsh pointed out.
Of course, sitting in the 400-level has certain downsides.
“This is bogus,” one of Walsh’s friends, Tim Snyder, tweeted during the game. “The people sitting in the 100s get free stuff and us common folk in the 400s get a nosebleed. But I paid $.30 too!”
Still, the four friends got to see a win. They befriended a slightly intoxicated man in the Gallery Place Chipotle after the game, who said he was unemployed but had gotten 100-level seats for $9, and was hoping for more home-team losses so the prices would remain low. (And yes, the Chipotle meal cost about six times as much as the four tickets.)
Seems like his wish was granted. Another Craiglist ad is offering 400-level tickets to Monday’s Rockets game for $10 each.
“I get it, the Washington Wizards are an awful awful basketball team,” the ad reads. “Still, you are paying only 10 a ticket to watch one NBA team (the Houston Rockets) and one supposed NBA team (Wizards) in a beautiful downtown arena. Its MLK day so the kids have off so if you need something to do with said kid, take him to his first Wizards game and hopefully he will be too young to realize how bad they are.
“Seats are located right on the aisle so if the game gets out of hand by the midpoint of the first quarter, you wont have to crawl over anyone to sprint home.”
As for Walsh, he had no regrets.
“That’s a story I can tell my kids,” he said. “You can’t really beat 30 cents.”