GABP in $20 or Less

Any time I ever talk to anyone, the conversation almost always turns to Cincinnati Reds baseball. When I mention how much I love going to the games, the other party almost always says, “I would love to go more, but it’s just so expensive!”

Scrooge McDuck is a close personal friend.

True, attending a game at Great American Ballpark CAN be expensive, but really, it’s as expensive as you want it to be. The RR crew has been to almost 25 games combined at GABP this season, and guess what? We’re not millionaires. Tina is a waitress and Angie works in retail. On top of that, we’re also college students, so the majority of the time, large sums of money are not at our disposal. The thing about us, though, is that we’ve perfected going to games for very little money, and we’d like to share our tips with our readers. We believe that every Reds fan should be able to go to games whenever they please.

So, here it is: how to do GABP for $20 or less.

- First, you need tickets. Great American Ballpark has many inexpensive ticket options. For this, we recommend either the $5 Outer View Level seats or the $8 bleacher seats. Honestly, there is not a bad seat at Great American Ballpark (except for the seats right behind the third base foul pole – but the Reds caught on to this, which is why those are now the All You Can Eat Seats). Any seat you sit in will give you an excellent view of the game. And, if you really want to have a great time with those around you, this is the best place to find great fans. In the words of Bill Veeck, “I have discovered in 20 years of moving around a ballpark, that the knowledge of the game is usually in inverse proportion to the price of the seats.” You can be sure that the people sitting in the $5 or $8 seats are sitting there because they want to be at (and watch!) the game.

Pro Tip: During the winter, set aside about 10 bucks a week and when the season rolls around, invest in a 20 game Season Ticket package. You can get a 20 game package in the Bleachers for $160 a person and you absolutely will not be disappointed. You will also be able to attend special season-ticket holder events. And, your tickets will have the players on them.

Like Ramon Hernandez!

- Next, you need refreshments. When it’s really hot outside, the last thing you want to do is sit out there for three hours without any kind of food or drink. Near Section 536 (or somewhere around there), you’ll find the $1 concession stand. You can get an array of ballpark treats for $1 each, and while the line is usually pretty long, if you want to get out of the ballpark without spending a ton of money, the $1 concession stand is totally worth it. Another option is the Kroger Meal Deal. For $7, you can get a 16 oz. drink, a hot dog, chips, and another snack item that varies (in the past, it’s been Rice Krispie Treats, Chewy Bars, or Chex Mix.)

Pro Tip: It is a common misconception that you can’t bring any outside food or drink into the ballpark. This is baseball, not a movie theater! Fans are permitted to bring their own food or drinks into the ballpark, provided the items are in sealed packaging. Drinkwise, as long as you have no cans or glass bottles and the seal of your drink has not been broken, you can bring almost anything you’d like into the ballpark (except alcohol, much to Tina’s chagrin.) Hell, you can even bring a soft-sided cooler into the ballpark to make sure your items stay cold during those hot summer months!

- “This is all fine and good, guys, but you’ve forgotten to mention the most expensive thing about going to GABP – parking!” No one wants to go to the game if they have to pay more to park than they do for the tickets! What people fail to think about when considering parking to go to a Reds game is that while parking in Downtown Cincinnati is super-expensive, parking across the river and strolling across a bridge is almost free! There are many lots in Newport that are under $5, and your car is usually safe to stay there until the next day.  Our favorite place to park is the meters in Covington right by the river – you put about $1.50 worth of quarters into the meters and walk right across the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge and you’re there! Plus, the walk across the bridge gives you a beautiful view of Cincinnati, Kentucky, and the Ohio River.

Just don’t fall off or you’ll plummet to your death.

So there you have it. Now you have absolutely no excuse to forgo attending Reds games, so when the Reds return from their West Coast road trip, please go see them – those guys need their fans more than you know!

As always, GO REDS!


I don’t think games are expensive at all – I think it’s cheaper and more fun to go to a Reds game than the movies! It can be expensive, but doesn’t have to be. Like you said get cheaper seats (I have plenty of times used Stubhub to upgrade), bring your own water, ect, and I usually walk from one of the cheaper lots…nothing like taking the walk to the game! Just wish I lived closer to home! The gas from Tennessee is the most expensive thing for me!

My family and I visited Cincinnati last summer and we stayed just over the bridge in NKY. I am convinced that Bob Castellini really loves his fans, even though it may cost him some money. The first night we went we got 4 tickets and 2 $10 concession vouchers for $49 through a Budweiser promotion, so that was only $12.25 per person, plus $6 both ways for the bus (kids were free). Another night I went by myself and splurged ($22) for a Sun/Moon Deck ticket in the front row and brought my own water and peanuts. Add $3 for round trip bus fare (it was too hot to walk that week) and $25 for an amazing seat is a pretty darned god deal. If it weren’t a 700 mile drive each way, I’d go a lot more often!

Some excellent tips here, and I agree with the commenter that it’s cheaper than the movies. One other suggestion: try searching on StubHub on hot days. If the weather’s going to be hot the left field seats especially could go for a real deal…just remember that StubHub charges a fee.

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