How to Buy Playoff Tickets

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It's the playoffs. Crunch time. Your team is in it. And you want those playoff tickets more than you have ever wanted anything before. Here's what you need to do to get your hands on playoff tickets for the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL.

  • Find friends, family members or coworkers who are season ticket holders for one of the playoff teams. They have the best chance at getting a ticket at the face value price. Send out an email to a large group of friends and family members. You never know who may be able to come through for you.

  • Check the tickets section of the team's website to see if tickets are still available. Also, check the league's website, such as NBA.com. You might just get lucky.

  • Go to Craigslist and look in the ticket section. Failing that, post something in the events forums and see if anyone responds. Understand in advance how and when you will get your tickets before sending your money to someone you don't know.

  • Consider eBay or other online auction sites, but make sure to only deal with reputable sellers and find out in advance as much information as possible about the tickets.

  • Consider the multitude of ticket broker Web sites you can find by searching on Google, but make sure to only deal with reputable sellers. Look in the Additional Resources for some great online ticket broker sites.

  • Drive in desperation to the game and try to buy a ticket from a scalper in front of the stadium. Expect to pay top dollar and work to minimize your risk of fraud. If you wait till after the start of the game, ticket prices may drop but there may be no more tickets left to buy.

Tips & Warnings

  • There's no 2 ways about it: Playoff tickets are expensive. Even tickets selling at face value can start at several hundred dollars each and you will rarely be able to buy a playoff ticket at this "bargain" face value price.
  • Consider purchasing tickets for contingent games (Games 5, 6, or 7) or later rounds before they become necessary.
  • For any Internet transaction you do, make sure the website where you buy tickets is secure and reputable. Look for a seal of approval from the Better Business Bureau, Verisign or similar organizations.
  • In most cases (but not always), playoff tickets are available at better prices well in advance of the game, especially before the opponents are determined.
  • Before making any purchase, make sure that you have a good seat by checking a map of the stadium.
  • eBay is often a good place to find tickets, but beware of fraudulent tickets and the disappointment of continually losing an auction.
  • While "scalping" or selling tickets above face value is illegal (although rarely enforced) in some states, it is almost always legal to buy "scalped" tickets.

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