Touchdown!

Tips on securing hard-to-get tickets

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard stories of the great extremes fans will go to in order to see their favorite team or hear their favorite musical artist — you may even have a few tales yourself. But special events tickets can be obtained without camping out on a sidewalk.

If the National Football League’s Washington Redskins’ make it to the playoffs, fan Nicole Copeland is determined to make sure she’s there to root her favorite team on to victory. As a result, Copeland and a friend decided to purchase five-year lease contracts. “Dan Snyder [the Redskins' owner] was looking for ways to expand profit for the stadium and allows people to lease seats for five, eight, or 10 years,” say Copeland, a 33-year-old policy and management analyst in Washington, D.C. “Our lease averages out to be $2,400 each per year” with an annual 5% increase cap. Copeland and her friend split the cost of a $500 parking space.

According to Carol Padgett, director of ticket operations for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, even sold out games may have last-minute availability. Typically, “visiting teams receive tickets on consignment. Any coach or player who doesn’t use those [tickets] returns their allotment and the tickets are made available for sale,” usually 72 hours before kickoff.

Another option is to participate in team auctions. Padgett says, three to four weeks before each game, pairs of special seats are available for bid, starting as low as $150 and the proceeds go to charity. One package even includes pregame sideline privileges and parking. Both options can be found and purchased on team Websites or through Ticketmaster.com

If you are heading to the Big Apple and in need of Broadway tickets, try presale programs, which offer select groups access to seats before the general public, says Bonnie Poindexter, spokeswoman for Ticketmaster. For example, American Express recently offered its card members advanced seating for the musical tour of Wicked. Discount retailer Target gave buyers of The Cheetah Girls CD a special Ticketmaster password to purchase concert tickets in select markets for The Cheetah Girls national tour before the rest of the crowd.

You can also look for unique opportunities on the fan club site of your favorite artist or sign up for Ticketmaster alerts. This service sends presale notices via e-mail or mobile device for selected performers, venues, and events.

Helpful Hints for Ticket Seekers
Use ticket exchange services. These sites are similar to eBay and offer tickets to sporting events such as NASCAR and entertainment events such as movie premieres. Unlike brokers, the seller determines the price, eliminating a middleman markup. StubHub.com ensures delivery and offers a FanProtect program, which guarantees money back if the transaction is fraudulent or if there is a cancellation.

Search for matinees and midweek shows. For theater performances, matinee and midweek tickets are sometimes easier to come by because the demand may not be as great. Ticket prices can also be less expensive.

Look for packages Many sports teams and hotels offer combo packages. At press time, Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas was offering

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