Minor League Sports, Major League Value

September 9, 2015

Pro sports get a lot of attention in Colorado, mainly due to Denver being one of only twelve US cities with teams from all four major professional sports leagues (eight if you include professional soccer). That means Colorado fans have a lot of opportunities to enjoy watching some of the best athletes in the world compete live and in person. Going to live sports is thrilling, but paying for everything from tickets to parking to concessions can add up quickly.

Last year, I covered ways to save on pro sports, so this year I thought it would be a good idea to look into some of the minor league, semi-pro, and other lesser-known sporting events across the state with an eye for saving some dough in the process.

With not one, but two minor league teams, there’s plenty of hardball. It’s especially nice for people in Southern or Western Colorado because they can experience a taste of the big leagues without having to drive all the way to Blake Street.

Colorado Springs Sky Sox
Security Service Field – 4385 Tutt Blvd, Colorado Springs
Ticket Prices: $10-$15 for regular single games, $525 for season tickets ($7.50/game), $70-$280 for 7-25 game mini-plans ($10-$11/game)

No longer affiliated with the Rockies, the Sky Sox are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The club has deep roots in the historic Pacific Coast League, and offers a look at up-and-coming major league players for about half the cost of the average ticket at Coors Field. A lot of good deals are available on the team’s website, but some of them include: free parking for season ticket holders (a reasonable $5/game for everyone else), a $2 ticket Tuesday promotion, and $0.50 hot dog and $3 craft beer nights. The season runs parallel to the Major League Baseball season (April-September).

Grand Junction Rockies
Sam Suplizio Field – 2531 N. 12th St, Grand Junction
Ticket Prices: $7-$9 for single games, season tickets available

The Grand Junction Rockies are the MLB club’s Rookie League affiliate. With a short season of about 75 games, the team only plays from June until early September, but in their fourth season they’ve already made a big splash in the River City. With fireworks shows every Friday evening game, and monthly dollar hot dog nights, there are plenty of ways to maximize your family’s entertainment budget.

The Avs, not to mention our top-tier college teams at DU, CC, and Air Force, typically dominate the ice hockey discussion, but there’s one other option and it’s just up the road.

Colorado Eagles
Budweiser Events Center – 5290 Arena Circle, Loveland
Ticket Prices: $16 and up for single games (not including service charges), $50-$80 (plus t-shirt) for three game packages, and $180-$280 (including parking) for ten game packs. $576-$990 for Season Tickets (36 games)

A staple in Northern Colorado for many years now, the Colorado Eagles play in the East Coast Hockey League—which is the Double-A league of the NHL. The Eagles play a 72-game schedule lasting from October until April. The Budweiser Events center plays host to their 36 home games, and offers easy access close to I-25 and US-34 in Loveland. Check out the Family Four Pack deal, which offers four tickets along with concession vouchers.

The days of Lacrosse (AKA Lax) being an east coast-only sport are long gone. If that wasn’t already apparent by the scores of lacrosse playing kids in the park on any given Saturday, all doubt was removed when the University of Denver Pioneers became the first school west of the Mississippi to win the NCAA Division 1 national championship. It’s also a popular spectator sport, with not one but two semi-professional Lax teams in the Mile High City.

Denver Outlaws
Sports Authority Field at Mile High
Ticket Prices (as of 2015): $12-$55 for single games, $99-$440 for season tickets (7 home games + 1 possible playoff game)

The Denver Outlaws play in Major League Lacrosse, and just wrapped up their 10th season of outdoor lacrosse. It’s a relatively short 14-game season, with seven regular season home games at Sports Authority Field. Check back for updates on deals, but if you’re a die-hard fan, they have a referral program for people who get others to hop on the Lax bandwagon with some interesting rewards for participants.

Colorado Mammoth
Pepsi Center
Ticket Prices: $10-$72 for single game tickets, season ticket packages from $80-$360

The other Lacrosse outfit in town is a little more established, having been around since 2003. The Mammoth play in the Pepsi Center, and in 2008 had the somewhat dubious distinction (for the other residents anyway) of being the biggest draw attendance-wise on a per-game basis. Much like their outdoor cohorts, the Mammoth have a fairly short 16-game schedule with eight home games. If you or your family members are first responders or military, they offer discounted tickets through the website.

Roller Derby
One of the most popular and exciting sports on the front range takes place on… roller skates?! That’s right, it’s roller derby! The full contact, high octane sport has traditionally been associated with women, but men are starting to get in on the action too. The Rocky Mountain Roller Girls and Denver Roller Derby are just two of the leagues duking it out for supremacy of the rink. Check out their websites for more info!

One of the most popular sports in Europe has found a burgeoning fan base here in the US. In fact, Glendale, Colorado is home to the country’s first municipally owned stadium built exclusively for Rugby.

Glendale Raptors
The Raptors aren’t just one team, but many men’s and women’s rugby squads in various stages of development. Tickets for some upcoming women’s first team matches are $6, and kids under 4 get in free. There are four Women’s Premier League games coming up this fall, but check their website for more information and schedule updates.