How do I get special access at sporting events?
August 30, 2009 4:31 PM   Subscribe

How do I get "special" access at sporting events?

We all see them: People with "special access" at sporting events. There are of course a variety of ways to get this kind of access; the obvious ones being knowing a player or coach or working for the stadium, field, golf course, whatever, and some special sponsorship relationships. But for those of us that don't have these kinds of relationships, what are the methods one might use to get "premium access" or treated very well by stadium staff? I'm thinking things like pre-game access, field access, being able to hang out on the sidelines before and after the game, etc, getting access to special boxes, etc.

If you were to try to keep an eye out for these kind of relationships, where would you focus your time and attention at meeting people in the industry? And if these relationships were out of the question for you, how would you get such access? I'm specifically talking about football and baseball, and specifically focused around the US, but i'd be interested in hearing anything.
posted by arimathea to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Become a senior executive in marketing at a company that does a lot of sports sponsorships. Like Budweiser or Coca-Cola.
posted by dfriedman at 4:33 PM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

The nonprofits I volunteer with often get those sorts of passes and tickets from our large corporate donors. Say Company has a block of those access passes; Company will often given some of them to Philanthropy, who then gives them to our volunteers as a thank you and a perk. I have no idea what's in it for Company to give them to us, but it's a nice gift to our volunteers. However, when a volunteer who hasn't pulled his weight jumps up and shouts Me! Me! when the passes are offer, everyone kinda thinks he's a jerk. Still, Philanthropy gives them out first come first served.

Sometimes, our Philanthropy will get those sorts of passes as in-kind donations and then we raffle or auction them off.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:50 PM on August 30, 2009

For many college sports if you bring a camera with a long, pro-looking lens they'll let you sit on the court or into the dugout, etc. The words "sports photographer" combined with lax college sports make this pretty easy (but don't try it at, like, a Florida football game or something).
posted by lockestockbarrel at 5:16 PM on August 30, 2009

Volunteer for security duty. You usually have to know someone who does this to initially get you in. I did it for Braves & Falcons games when I lived in ATL.
posted by torquemaniac at 5:18 PM on August 30, 2009

The companies that crush-onastick mentions also sell some of those tickets to their employees; my employer does. Do you know anyone who works for a large corporation?
posted by cabingirl at 6:02 PM on August 30, 2009

Where do you work? You have to know someone or have a contact who will reciprocate a favor you did for them. Or work in the media.

I'm in the news media so I can call my assignment editor and arrange the access you describe. But I also know people through my work- like PR people who can set me up with the most ridiculously cool things.
posted by Zambrano at 6:54 PM on August 30, 2009

At my university, big Division 1-A state school, the scoreboards at the football and basketball games were run by students. I got that gig by a fluke, not even knowing it existed before, and it was pretty sweet. Box seats. All-access pass. Press box buffet. Press-level parking pass. Also the pay was surprisingly good — and I would have done it for free. Dream job for a college student.

If I were to try to get this gig now, to start with, you need to be a student. Then just call up the athletic department and ask. Worth a shot, at least. Basketball was always easier to get than football because there were a lot more games, and they also needed more people since basketball is faster paced.
posted by smackfu at 8:03 PM on August 30, 2009

My brother used to help set up pre-race shows at the Charlotte, er, Lowe's, Motor Speedway. His compensation included a few all-access passes for friends. And we used to get free box seats for just about anything at the old Charlotte Coliseum since the general manager used to go to the doctor's office where Mom was a nurse--I thought all kids got to tour the tents when Ringling Brothers were in town.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:21 AM on August 31, 2009

« Older Songs that are a throwback to the 1930s-1960s?   |   Old Father Hubbard. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.