Super Bowl Alternatives
Not planning on watching the Super Bowl on Feb. 3? You might be the real winner.
Photo by sxc.hu/Wia-Tirol
While most Americans are glued to their couches watching TV and rooting for their respective team, you'll get to enjoy an uncrowded Sunday with lower-than-usual prices.
Read on to learn about some Super Bowl alternatives that can save you money.
Go to the theater.Broadway shows tend to be less expensive on Super Bowl night. For example, ticket prices to Wicked's 7 p.m. performance in New York City on Feb. 3 start at $79 through Stub Hub compared to $256 for the following Sunday night. (Cheaper tickets are available for other days of the week.)
Hit the slopes.We don't have exact figures, but if the past is any guide, Super Bowl Sunday is prime time for skiing. In 2011 people who purchased lift tickets for this day through Liftopia saved an average of 40 percent compared to the average savings of 32 percent for mid-week lift tickets.
Take-out from the nearest chain restaurant.In previous years several chain establishments' Super Bowl alternative has involved offering tasty treats for cheap. Papa John's, for example, gave out $45 gift cards every 45 seconds and sold large pizzas for $10 each during Super Bowl 2011. Many national restaurant chains have also used game day to promote a new product. In 2011 Pizza Hut publicized the "Big Dipper": $12 for 24 strips of pizza and four cups of tomato sauce for dipping.
Eat local.Super Bowl alternatives also include alternatives to fast food, including good deals at neighborhood joints. At Carnivale in Chicago, all diners will receive a complimentary $15 gift certificate during this year's Super Bowl weekend. This is a smart idea considering that Super Bowl Sunday tends to be one of the least busy nights of the year for sit-down restaurants. During game time Open Table -- the restaurant reservation site -- fills about half the seats of a typical Sunday night. So use the day as an opportunity to dine somewhere you haven't been able to get into.
Fly (almost) anywhere.Airfare for flights in early February tend to be inexpensive, making a cheap getaway the perfect Super Bowl alternative -- unless you're eyeing Las Vegas (the partying capital of the Super Bowl) or New Orleans (the location of the game itself). Last year Jet Blue priced all drinks -- including beer, wine and spirits -- at $1 and gave out free Snyder's Buffalo Wing Pretzels on flights scheduled during the game. Bonus: Flying as a Super Bowl alternative means fewer passengers and more space to spread out.
But hang on -- prices may drop as game day draws nigh. According to a New York Times 2012 travel article, ticket prices for Merchant of Venice and Spiderman were down by 25 percent a week prior to the 2011 Super Bowl and fell 13 percent more in the days leading up to the big game. And you won't have to worry (as much) about ticket availability because most people already have plans for that night.
Keep tabs on such deals as you scout around for Super Bowl alternatives. Obviously, the offers vary by location and in an unusual twist may also be determined by the fate of competing teams. For instance, Feb. 3 lift ticket prices at New Hampshire's Waterville Valley depend on the New England Patriots' most recent score.
Take advantage of other cheap forms of entertainment. Mini golfing, museums, and movies are not necessarily cheap but may be affordable Super Bowl alternatives. Be on the lookout for the best game-day values.