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With hockey season one week away, plenty of cheap Caps tickets are available through the resale market

Caps tickets on StubHub

There are many opportunities to see a Caps game for less than face value in October.

The Washington Capitals took a break from raising ticket prices this season after being pretty aggressive with some of their increases for several years in a row. I’ve spoken with more than one person who feels it’s become a bit expensive to go to a Caps game during the Rock the Red era and that’s certainly something I can relate to as a father of three.

Demand rose as the team got hot and the days of $10 top row Eagle’s Nest seats at Verizon Center are gone by miles. It would cost about $250 for my family to attend a Caps game this season in the 400 Level seats furthest from the ice (which I don’t mind sitting in at all), if I purchased them through the team. And that’s just for the tickets.

Park the car or pay for Metro, buy a snack and we’d be at over $300 for one family night out at a regular season game in the cheapest face value seats available. People are right to say a trip to Verizon Center has become a pricey experience over the past five-plus seasons or so.

But here’s some good news if you enjoy going to Caps games, yet don’t have a budget that allows you to spend the equivalent of a car payment for your family to attend a sporting event. Washington opens the 2013-14 NHL season next week and tickets to most of the team’s home games are available at big discounts on the resale market, including several in October.

First, the most expensive of the upcoming games: For the Caps home opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday, October 3, tickets currently start at $32.20 on StubHub and at $27 on the Capitals Ticket Exchange, prices that are well below face value. There are 2,594 available for that game on StubHub and 1,818 on Ticket Exchange. Those $32.30 seats available through StubHub, which includes all fees in that price, are in a section of the 400 level at Verizon Center that would cost $57.90 total with fees through TicketMaster. That’s close to half-price for the first home game of the season, which I’ve always found to be a fun event.

From there, most of the October tickets get even cheaper. When the Carolina Hurricanes visit a week later on October 10, tickets are currently priced at $16.80 on StubHub with 2,870 available and at $14 on Ticket Exchange with 2,132 seats listed. The New York Rangers, often a fairly hot ticket in DC, visit Washington on Wednesday, October 16 and prices for that remain relatively low as well. 2,729 tickets are currently posted on StubHub, with the lowest priced at $31.10. On Ticket Exchange, 1,889 are available and they start at $26.

You can also see Edmonton when they visit on Monday, October 14 for as little as $13 (StubHub), Colorado on Saturday, October 12 starting at $24 (Ticket Exchange), and Columbus for $27 (Ticket Exchange) when they visit on Saturday the 19th.

October isn’t the only time when 2013-14 Caps tickets are available at discounted prices. As of this posting, there are plenty more tickets for sale at below face value over the course of the season if you scroll through the listings for the Caps on StubHub or Ticket Exchange.

If you really want to see a game for dirt cheap, check out the resale prices for the Caps two preseason games at Verizon Center this week against Nashville and Philadelphia. You may not see all the stars in those lineups and the games don’t count in the standings, but seats can be had for $4.49 (StubHub) versus the Predators or for $5 (Ticket Exchange) when the Caps face the Flyers.

Another approach is to wait until the day of a game to see if prices drop further on the resale markets as the start time approaches and ticket holders look to just get whatever they can, rather than nothing at all (be sure to confirm what time the resale sites cut off sales). This can work against you if inventory gets low and prices start moving up instead of down. But sometimes you can get some bargains – I got five seats for a grand total of $54.90 using this approach the season before last: “How to see a Washington Capitals game without spending a ton.”

How to see a Washington Capitals hockey game without spending a ton

Caps Jets ticket order on StubHubLast week, I noted unusually low ticket prices for a Caps game, as they were facing the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at Verizon Center and 400 level tickets had dropped to $15 that afternoon on StubHub. I waited until just before 5 p.m. that night and ended up getting tickets for $8.99 each; this was for 400 level tickets that had a face value of $55 a piece. So I basically got five seats for what one would cost at face value—it’s not often you can do that for a Caps game. Granted, the team hasn’t been playing well lately and is missing some star players, but this was two days after the team had reclaimed first place with a big win at home over Florida, and before the recent losses to the Rangers and Sharks.

Looking at the team’s upcoming schedule on StubHub*, the current prices and the inventory available there, there could be some more bargain nights ahead for Caps fans looking to attend a game without spending as much as it usually takes. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get $8.99 tickets when a team like the Flyers come to town next month but—if you’re willing to go on a week night and see an opponent that’s either not near the top of the standings or a Southeast Division team that the Caps face multiple times a season—there will likely be some deals to be had. There were even some tickets available this past Monday afternoon for under $20 on StubHub for that night’s game against the San Jose Sharks, a good team that doesn’t come to town that often.

In order to get the best possible prices, keep an eye on the list of Caps home games on StubHub and wait it out until the day of the game if you can. On game day, prices can drop quite a bit as people look to dump their tickets for whatever they can get. The day of the Caps-Jets game last week, the lowest priced ticket on StubHub went from $15 at around 4pm down to $8.99 when I bought them just before 5pm. If you’re going to try this approach, it’s important to note that StubHub stops sales two hours before game time.

Here are the upcoming games that look like they have a chance at getting fairly inexpensive:

On Tuesday, February 28, the New York Islanders come to town. There are a little over 1,700 tickets available on StubHub and the cheapest seat is currently $21.

The Carolina Hurricanes visit on Tuesday, March 6 and tickets start at $27 right now on Stub Hub, with more than 2,000 available.

For Thursday, March 8, there are more than 2,000 tickets available on StubHub when the Caps host the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the cheapest tickets are currently $29.

There could be some other games to keep an eye on after that, like when the Jets visit again on March 23, though that’s a Friday and those games sometimes don’t get as cheap as Tuesday games, for example. The Sabres visit on Tuesday, March 27 and then Florida comes to town on Thursday, April 5. That’s the final home game of the year and tickets are only $26 right now. Whether prices for that game against the Panthers go up or down from here could depend a lot on what the playoff picture looks like as that date gets closer.

* I don’t mention the Capitals TicketExchange because there seems to be a floor below which a ticket’s price can not be sold there. From what I’ve seen, it appears buyers looking for the lowest overall price are better off using StubHub.

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