With at least two teams in each of the four major American sports (baseball, basketball, football, and hockey) there will always be a game or two going on in the New York City area. New York fans are notoriously confident and gregarious so seeing a home sporting event live can make for an unforgettable experience, and this is actually one of the few things that will make it necessary to leave Manhattan since only two of the teams play in the main visitor borough.
- New York Yankees — This is easily the most famous team in the area and the most famous and successful in the history of baseball. They play from April through October at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, which is easily accessible by subway, although it’s at least 30 minutes from Midtown.
- New York Mets — This newer team has lived in the shadows of the Yankees ever since they started, but they are usually near the top of their own table in the National League East. They play in the same months at Shea Stadium in Queens, which is right off the #7 subway line and easy to reach.
- New York Knicks — This team has been a major disappointment for fans since the 1990s. They play from November through April at Madison Square Garden, which is just above Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan so it’s walking distance from most hotels in addition to being above the busiest transit point in the entire country.
- New Jersey Nets — This erratic team plays its home games at the Izod Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s easy to reach by special buses that leave from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
- New York Giants — This NFC team has won two Superbowls and 4 NFL championships before the Superbowl existed. They play from September through December at Giants Stadium, which is also at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It’s also easy to get special buses that go directly there from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown.
- New York Jets — This newer team has had a few successes over the years in the AFC, but they tend to be most people’s second choice. They play at the same stadium as the Giants above, on alternate weekends.
- New York Rangers — This famed team has also been a frustration for their fans lately, but the remain very popular. Their home games run from October through March, also at Madison Square Garden, which they share with the Knicks basketball team.
- New York Islanders — This team is actually based on Long Island, but they have many devoted fans in the city as well. Their games are played at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Stadium in Uniondale, New York. It’s not easy to get there in a hurry, but buses leave from the Port Authority.
- New Jersey Devils — This team has been very successful lately. Their home games are at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, also available by bus or through a connection on trains from Penn Station.
- New York Red Bulls — This Major League Soccer team formed in 1996 as the MetroStars and in 2006 changed their name to match the energy drink that sponsors them. They play from April to November, also at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
Prices for games for all these teams have been rising from expensive to ridiculous during the 00s. Particularly if the team is having a good season, games can sell out well in advance. Check for any game you are interested in attending on each team’s website, but even if they are sold out there will always be ways to get tickets.
Tickets for sold out games
If the game is still at least 4 or so hours away, you should check on Craigslist. This site is usually flooded with buyers and sellers, even up until an hour or two before the game itself. Needless to say, for popular games you’ll usually have to pay over face value, but for other games you can often get them for under face value. Craigslist has a good reputation for honest buyers and sellers, but with this kind of thing you can never be too careful. Meet someone in a public place and look carefully at the tickets before paying.
And there will ALWAYS be scalpers outside of every New York area game, but there will always be buyers as well. This is obvious, but prices and availability vary greatly depending on the game in question. This is basically an illegal practice, but it goes on discreetly in front of every game, although it may not be completely obvious at first. Again, check the tickets to make sure you aren’t being scammed. These scalpers like to protect their reputation so they are normally very honest, but if your English is poor you never know what someone might try.