The top performers in our review are Ticketmaster, the Gold Award winner; StubHub, the Silver Award winner; and Vivid Seats, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a sports tickets provider to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 choices.
Sports ticket providers are the way to get from watching coverage of sports from your couch to experiencing the thrill that only a live experience can bring a die-hard sports fan. These providers offer an easy way to get tickets to nearby games. Even if you are used to the time-honored practice of buying tickets in person, taking advantage of the new technology to get cheap sports tickets could make your experience much smoother.
We reviewed sports tickets providers that have enough buying methods to cover people who prefer to pick up tickets, have the tickets on their phones, or print the tickets and bring them to the venue. Sports tickets should also have security measures in case you need to return them, and your privacy as an online buyer needs to be protected. You can learn more in our articles about sports tickets.
We looked at ways for you to buy sports tickets online with services that offer different print and digital ticketing types, security measures, and added benefits. There should also be support services that act as a source of contact if you are confused about the site's processes or if you run into obstacles getting your tickets or putting them up for sale.
We determined the effectiveness of each sports tickets service by the different types of ticketing it offers in print and digital formats, and how much it charges for each service function on the site. The ticketing types include paperless, pickup and printout tickets.
We also looked at what kinds of security measures each sports ticket service takes, like return policies and privacy seals for your payment information. Sports ticket services should also offer benefits like premium parking and rewards programs for users. Support services, including a FAQs page and live chat, should also be available to educate you about the service.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We judged the services by comparing the ticket types, costs, security measures, benefits and support services. The companies had no input or influence over our testing methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available by reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Ticketing Tools & Costs: Getting a Front-Row Seat
During our research of sports ticket services, we looked at what costs are involved with obtaining online ticket services, and how each ticket type compares with the others financially. There are fees to cover the site's expenses as a secondhand ticket seller, buying over the internet, shipping and reselling your purchased tickets. We also looked at the range of options you have for ticket types, how to find tickets on the site, and whether or not you can obtain tickets for sports events internationally.
If you still prefer to have a physical copy of a ticket in your hand when you arrive at an event, then services like Ticketmaster, StubHub and Vivid Seats offer e-tickets you can print off before going to the venue. Paperless tickets are becoming more common, and you can use Flash Seats that either appear on your phone or only require you to show an ID to verify your purchase upon entering the venue. TicketCity and Ticket Liquidator both have Flash Seats as part of the ticketing services on their sites.
Security Measures: Covering Your Back
With any retail or ticketing source, there should be strong security so you know you can trust that source with your financial information and plans. The best sports ticket services give you the ability to return your purchase in an emergency, along with a way to validate that its services are legitimate, usually with testimony from other users or a membership with the National Association of Ticket Brokers.
User Benefits: The Gift That Keeps on Giving
If you are a regular attendee at games and a loyal follower of a sports ticket provider, then decent benefits should be a given. Services like TicketsNow offer premium parking with certain deals, which is convenient when you want to guarantee you won't have to walk a mile from your car to a venue. Rewards programs can also offer you discounts on individual tickets or group deals. In case you want alerts to arrive regularly in your inbox, there are services on our lineup like Razorgator that do a good job of keeping you updated.
Help & Support: Keeping in Touch
Some services offer the benefit of direct company contact via live chat, which allows you to write and receive responses whilst on the service's site. A FAQs page with clear, thorough answers to common questions is also a valuable part of customer support. Each service should also give you the option of using phone or email to contact the company, with little wait time for either.
Service fees give you an idea of how much you will spend in addition to the sum of your tickets, and they are put onto your ticket cost as a way to cover the service's expenses as a secondhand seller. E-fees are how much you have to pay for the convenience of having a ticket sent to you via email or the site as opposed to buying one at a venue or picking it up.
Service Fees: Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck
Many sports tickets providers charge a service fee, which covers costs for what it takes the site to remain a secondary ticket provider. If you buy tickets at a venue, you won't have this fee, but there is also a chance you won't get as high-quality seats if you wait until the day of the event to buy them in person. Some providers have lower fees than others. Ticketmaster has no service fee, and Coast to Coast Tickets has a relatively low one of 18 percent. Look for a service with low or no service fees.
E-Fees: The Techno-Age Price
Sports ticket services generally have a fee for providing an online service rather than an in-person one, and then for sending the tickets through email or the site. The fee covers the cost of providing online services to buy the tickets. You should generally look for a service that has the smallest fee possible. TicketCity has no e-fee, and StubHub only charges $2 per ticket. Generally, e-fees are marked by each ticket rather than as a blanket price, so remember to figure in paying for each ticket's e-fee if you are buying tickets for more than one person.
Ticketmaster, StubHub and Vivid Seats are all superb sports ticket hubs. Vivid Seats, the Bronze Award winner, has the support services to guide you through buying tickets for any sporting event. Our Silver Award winner, StubHub, has enough benefits to get you deals on events throughout each sporting season. Ticketmaster has low fees, member benefits, and a return policy that guarantee your money back in case of an emergency. It is a worthy recipient of our Gold Award when you take all its costs, ticketing types and benefits into account.
Other ticket providers on our lineup also have solid offerings. Coast to Coast Tickets has no will-call fee, and TicketCity has no fees for anything but base selling services. No choice on our lineup is there solely to fill a slot, and all will give you high-quality service.
All of the sports ticket hubs on our lineup are solid choices if you need to get tickets for any sport of your choice. Finding one that gives you the best deals and support services will be a lot easier with our reviews.