Monday, August 25, 2008

How Do I Plan my Stadium Trips?

Many folks have asked me how I do what I do. How do I get to all of these stadiums throughout the year in terms of travel, tickets, and lodging? They always wonder if I have any tricks of the trade I might pass on. My response to them is the the entire Quest for 31 website is based on handing over these tricks of the trade, so others can begin their own Quest for 31. When I developed the website it began as a place for me to store the links that helped me to prepare for and plan each of my trips to different stadiums around the country. I always start with an NFL Schedule (I have it posted on the website broken down by team and by week) and my road trip NFL City Distance Chart. This NFL city matirx is a tool I developed which lists the distance between NFL cities in terms of mileage and time between each. Using the NFL schedule and NFL city matirx, I can determine which stadiums are close to each other or which are feasible for me to hit on a weekend, over a vacation, or on an extended road trip. The next step is finding cheap nfl tickets. Becasue I'm trying to attend so many games through out the year, I gotta get NFL tickets cheap! I've found that the best sites for finding reasonable NFL tickets are,, and You always know what you're getting and one is an extremely reputable online ticket broker thatI have used multiple times with great results. On, if you go to the individual team pages you will find links to each online ticket broker allowing you to easily compare NFL ticket prices between each broker to get the best deal. I've also listed the published face value ticket price by each section, so you know what the tickets were initially priced at. In today's NFL, once the tickets go onsale, the ones that are not taken by season ticket holders and gobbled up by these online brokers. I think we'll find that in the near future, most of us will be buying NFL tickets through a broker rather than the team ticket office. The last item is lodging. When I started the Quest I realized that I have friends and relatives in NFL cities throughout the country, but when I'm not hitting up a distant relative for a place to stay, I ususally go directly to to the name your price feature. I've had lots of luck getting hotel rooms on the cheap and staying in some of the nicest hotels in the country for much less that I would ever expect tp pay. So that's it, I encourage you to check out my website for all of your NFL game needs. In addition to the tools I talked about above, I have directions to each stadium, gameday weather, and NFL proshops for NFL team merchandise. Good Luck!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Where do you buy your tickets?

October 14, 2007: Walter from Denver, CO
Hi Hans,
Really cool site, man! You’ve inspired me to start my own Quest for 31. So far I’ve been to three stadiums Denver, Baltimore, and Arizona, so I have a long ways to go.
Where do you get your tickets to go to all of these games?

I get my tickets from a variety of sources. I usually select the game I want to attend several weeks in advance. During the weeks leading up to the game, I keep an eye on E-bay to see if I can get a good price on a pair of cheap NFL tickets that no one is bidding on. In many cases, the E-bay community pays way too much for NFL tickets, so I also monitor StubHub and TicketsNow. On each of the team pages on my website, I have Team NFL Ticket links from a few online ticket sellers so I can easily compare prices. I’ve found that Craigs list is full of spammers, so these days I don’t even bother looking there. When all else fails I go to the stadium without tickets. I’ve found that sometimes you can go over to the stadium ticket office on gameday to buy tickets. This is also a good place to try to locate fans who are looking to sell their extra tickets. Scalpers are another way to go. In my experience, even when no one online is selling tickets to a game and it’s the hottest ticket in town, there are always scalpers with tickets at the game ready to sell. You have to go in knowing what the face value is for each section and the idea is to pit the scalpers against each other to get their best price closest to face value. Decide what you’d like to spend and be firm. I separate money into different pockets so I can quickly grab the exact negotiated price by reaching into two of my pockets. Don’t tip your hand as the scalpers will always try to get an extra twenty or thirty dollars out of you before handing over the tickets. Carrying lots of $5 bills helps out quite a bit too.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How do you keep warm during those cold weather games?

December 27, 2007: Jennifer from Atlanta, GA
I saw pictures of you at the Blizzard Bowl in Cleveland this year.
What do you wear to keep yourself warm during those cold weather games? Do those handwarmers really work?

I certainly was at the Buffalo Bills vs. Cleveland Browns game that they’re calling the 2007 Blizzard Bowl. That was one of the coldest games I’ve ever attended and definitely the snowiest. I like to keep warm using layers, but the most important parts to keep warm are your hands and feet. I usually wear a pair of thermal socks and a couple pairs of wool socks then stuff my feet into a pair of rubber boots. For the Blizzard Bowl I wore Long Johns and jeans and about four sweaters under my winter coat. I always like to bring an extra wool hat and pair of gloves so when the first pair gets wet I can swap ‘em. I do like using the Handwarmers that you can buy at most stores, but for really cold weather I recommend using two or three inside each glove. These Handwarmers are usually air activated and produce heat for 7 – 10 hours. The best thing I found to keep warm is a hunter’s seat cushion that clips around my waist to keep me insulated from the cold and wet bench seats … definitely a must! When in doubt raid the hunting section of your nearest sporting good stores. Those Hunters know how to keep warm in the cold!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Can you tell me about Gillette Stadium?

January 11, 2008: Alison from Jacksonville, FL
Hey!! Told ya about them Jags! BUT,it's not too late, you can jump on the bandwagon now! However for Saturday night, you need to wear your Bills shirt as they won the last time you wore it! hehehehe!!!
My husband and I are going to Foxboro tomorrow night for the game … are you going? Have you been to that stadium? Can you give me any information about it, where to park, if the people are gonna be ok, (all I've packed is Jaguar stuff!)!! etc etc... We are staying at the Hilton by the Boston Airport … looks like it's only a 30 min drive to the stadium.

Hey Alison (see my Jacksonville Jaguars Review),
I can't believe you're going to the game! Wear my Bills shirt, huh... another crack on my perpetually struggling franchise – classic! Yeah I was in Foxboro earlier this year - see my review of Gillette Stadium. I watched that New England Patriots machine unload on the San Diego "Super" Chargers. The stadium is awesome and so are the fans. The people are really cool, you won't have any real trouble wearing Jacksonville Jaguars gear and win or lose you'll have a great time. You want to get there early though, because traffic gets really bad trying to get into the stadium. I was lined up on Washington Street for what seemed like forever and I was there 2.5 hours before gametime. The Patriots fans start early. I was told that at 11am people were already tailgating for an 8:30pm Sunday night game. Parking in the stadium parking lots costs $40, and those Patriots fans are some real tailgaters. As soon as you're parked by lot attendants, the vehicle aisleways fill up with tents, full sized grills, fire pits, and games. Once you're in, you're there to stay. The fans are cooking up every manner of raw meat and seafood known to man. So much so that Gillette Stadium doesn't even try to compete, as they offer really basic concessions that pale in comparison to what's cooking in the parking lot. They do have Sam Adams on tap though. Have fun and send me a picture I can post on my site at POST YOUR NFL PICS!

Free Parking in Philly?

October 22, 2007: Greg from Seattle, WA
I’m going to the Seattle Seahawks game in Philadelphia on December 2. Hopefully my Seahawks can pull out a win.
Where did you find free parking when you were in town?

I’m not sure that free parking is actually available for Lincoln Financial Field. I think it’s more like park at your own risk. I was in Philadelphia for a Monday night game in September. I arrived just before gametime and the parking lots around the stadium were completely full. I ended up following a line of parked cars all the way down Pattison Avenue about two miles east of Lincoln Financial Field. I parked my car by the railroad tracks almost expecting a parking ticket, but when I returned about an hour after gametime, there was none to be found. I hopped into my truck and went on my merry way. You can try it, but I’m guessing it is at risk parking over there. It certainly did help defray the cost of that scalped ticket I had to buy to get into the game though - the Philadelphia Eagles unfortunately lost to the Washington Redskins.

How bad are Oakland Raiders Fans?

October 20,2007: Bill from Nashville, TN
I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Raiders fans.
Have you had any negative experiences with them at NFL games?

I actually have nothing but good things to say about Oakland Raider fans. I was in San Diego this year for the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers game. Several people from San Diego warned me that the Oakland Raider fans can be very disruptive and that lots of folks in San Diego won’t even bother going to game to avoid the headache. I had absolutely no issues. I sat and talked with a bunch of Raiders fans and even crashed a few tailgating parties in my LaDanian Tomlinson jersey. I found fans on both sides at Qualcomm Stadium to be very respectful. It’s probably those few bad apples that spoil it for the rest of the bunch. I can’t wait to go to a game at McAfee Coliseum though, hopefully next year.

Detroit Lions Mini-Clinic?

October 9, 2007: Greg from Detroit, MI
Great Site! On your Detroit Lions page, you’ve posted information on Ford Field Tours and a mini-clinic option that the Lions offer.
What’s the mini-clinic like?

I’m sorry to say that I was unable to participate in a mini-clinic during my Ford Field Stadium Tour. The mini-clinic is a fantastic idea, and fairly unique as I haven’t seen any other stadium tours that offer them. During the 30-minute mini-clinics, your group learns to pass, catch, and kick like the pros with instruction from actual Detroit Lions. Mini-clinics offer fantastic photo opportunities for all involved. The cost is an additional $5.00 per participant, over the already reasonable tour cost of $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids and seniors. The Ford Field Website is a bit misleading as it states that you can add a mini-clinic to your stadium tour. When I arrived, I was told that mini-clinics are only available for groups twenty of more and restricted the child participation only. Very disappointing. At Texas Stadium, the Cowboys organization actually works twenty minutes into their stadium tour for time out on the football field where they provide footballs and kicking tees. Fans can throw touchdowns to the Dallas Cowboys endzone or kick field goals through the uprights – this was worth the price of admission!