For those of you still are looking to purchase tickets to a Jaguars game, but are careful with your money, I wanted to list some tips on how to save some money at Jaguars games, or get more "power with your punch" of your hard earned dollar at Everbank Field. After the break, I listed some of the (few) tips I know on how to get value at a Jags game. Yes this is hard with $7 beers, $5 hot dogs, $25 parking and $20 t-shirts, but if you "Clark Howard" yourself, you can enjoy the game for the price of a ticket and as little as an extra $20 bill in your wallet. I have only been going to games for the last few years and will be a first time season ticket holder this year so I don't know all the "ins and outs", so some of you "veterans", please feel free to add your experiences well as looking for other ideas to save!
Alright, we have heard about the cost of a NFL game being outrageous and it is "on average over a $1000 for a family of four to attend a game" for tickets, parking, hot dogs, drinks, program and souvenirs. Well I can't disagree, that yes it does add up, but do you really need all that stuff? No wonder it is always so expensive. All those items add up, but I want to show you how to save on some of those items.
First, Tickets. I believe the $300, 10 Games Season Tickets are sold out. Too bad, b/c that is an incredible deal. $30 a game for the NFL! Yes, they are Upper Deck, but still a great value. The next cheapest option is the $390, 10 Game Season Ticket deal, so for $39 a game you are getting a savings of 20% gameday face value. A great deal and way to save. Can't make it to every game, then the Half Packs are also a great deal. I did this for the 2008 and 2009 season as I couldn't commit for all 10 games. Half packs start at $50 a game, which I still believe are $5 or $10 off gameday, face value, so you are still saving money. Other than that, Ticket Exchange or any online ticket source might have deals, but IMO Ticket Exchange is always a bit higher and you don't find too many bargins and I don't trust the various online, out of town, ticket broker websites. I have used Craigslist in the past to find "cheap" tickets and you are more likely to find a bargin there. Other than that you can try your luck with a scalper (I paid $50 for a $75 ticket last year for the Texans) or maybe you know a season ticket holder who might part with the ticket for face value or less, or maybe free just b/c they want you to tag along and get you to experience a game.
Second, Parking. Ok, you can park for $20 or $30 in one of the lots near the Stadium. I don't even know what the nice paved lots cost, right outside the Stadium, but I assume they are expensive. If you want your exercise, you could probably park for cheap on the street downtown on a Sunday and hike it with a 30 minute walk to the Stadium. Someone told me you can park for free behind the jail, but still quite a walk IMO to the Stadium. So save your $20-$30 and your legs and take the bus. There are lots in Mandarin, Beaches and now Orange PArk and I believe they are $12 a person. You are paying for the convience, but if you can get downtown for less than $5 gas, it makes more sense to park at the Kings Avenue or Prime Osborn lots, which only cost $7 per person. So you save $5, but the big value of parking at these two downtown lots is you get a free Food Voucher. Yes, for $7 you get to park in a safe, secure lot/garage, AC ride on a bus and dropped off/picked up right outside the stadium, plus FREE FOOD! Last year the voucher would vary game to game, but it would be a Drink, Hot Dog, Popcorn, etc. Each one of these vouchers has a concession value of $5, so for $7, you are geting $5 worth of food, so it is like paying $2 to park. A heck of a deal!
Third, Food. Yes, if you to the Stadium hungry, then you are going to pay some $$. So why go hungry? 1:00 game, have an early lunch or late breakfast. I made a couple of stops at Subway on Sunday last year on my way to the game and got my $5 footlong combo or ate a big breakfast at 10:30 or so and was full enough that all I needed to buy was a snack or drink to hold me over until I got home at 5:30/6:00 pm for dinner. So eat a big breakfast/early lunch, get your Food/Drink voucher from the bus, along with another $10-$12 cash to buy a drink or a bag of peanuts, then you won't be hungry and will last the game. Yes, I know I failed to mention beer, but if you can live without $7 beers, then you can save some money.
Fourth, Programs. Well the good thing is Jaguars don't charge for programs. The bad thing, is they are hard to get. I was in the Upper Deck the last few years, and you had to go to the Customer Service window and ask for a program and they will give you one. Bad thing is you got to get there early to get them before they run out. I was in the lower bowl for one of the games and noticed they had ushers handing out programs and it also looked like they were placed on certain seats in some sections, so maybe they are more available to the higher price ticket holders? Anyway, the point it they are free if you can get them, and they are nice programs.
Fifth, Souvenirs. Yes, another item you have to ask yourself, can you live without? Of course NFL games are expensive for 4 if you are buying 4 hats or 4 shirts for everyone in the family. Obviously prices are a bit higher in the Stadium. I would suggest you buy your Jags hats or t-shirts at Wal-Mart or Target or one of the football stores in the mall. No reason to buy this stuff at the stadium, but if you do, I believe they do run promotions each game for certain sale items. So pay attention to the video boards, as I remember there was always and "Item of the Game" that was 1/2 off of what it nornally costs. I also believe there is a sales rack in the Jags Store in Everbank Field, so maybe you can save some $ that way if you decide to purchase at the Stadium.
So there you go, there are my five tips. Hey, I am not Donald Trump with tons of money and yes, I might not go all out each game at the Stadium, but I believe you can be thrifty and enjoy the games. Say you get a $39 season ticket, you pay $2 ($7-$5 food voucher) to park, plus add another $10 for a drink and hot dog and can hold off buying anything else at the Stadium, you are talking about doing a Jags game for just a little over $50.
And I almost forgot, Coupons. If you are able to get season tickets you get a Teal Deals booklet with the $2500 of coupons. Of course you aren't going to use all of them, but if you are like me, I have easily saved over $150 so far using coupons to Bonos, Moes, Outback, Brusters, etc. Plus something else I just discoverd was Jags Rewards at Gate. I have seen the stickers on the pump and after some research on the Jags website, discoverd for every 10 gallons of gas you purchase, you get $2 towards the purchase of concessions or merchandise. That is a hell of a deal. So, if you have two cars and fill up each week, you are talking about $6 to $8 to spend just by getting your gas at Gate. All you have to do is buy 10 gallons and take your reciept into the cashier and show them your Jags Season Ticket ID card and they staple a voucher to your reciept. From what I undertand, then when you go to the game, you show these at some locations in the stadium and get Jags cash to use. So I cheated the system and filled up my car with 10.1 gallons of gas tonight and probably will get another 10.1 gallons by Saturday, plus my other car needs some gas, so I will have an extra $6 for Saturday night. Maybe if I do the math, I can get 4 10.1 gallon fill-ups this week and get $8. Woo-hoo!!!
So there you have it, a few tips to save some money. I know times are tight and not lots of extra money floating around, but hopefully this information helps you plan your trip to the stadium, encourages you to make that ticket purchase, or like me, just want to save some money here and there! Like I said, if you know of any other tips or advice, please feel free to post in the Comments Section, as I would love to know how to "save more and spend less".