Escape the Nosebleed Section
Expert Advice

Image: Wikimedia Commons, Thelastcanadian

You managed to get tickets to the “big game” this weekend, and you and your best buds are stoked! After parking in another county, you’ve finally made your way to the stadium. Then, after hiring a sherpa to help lead the expedition to the top of the stadium, you finally arrive at your seats in the nosebleed section. However, as it turns out, your seats are so bad you aspire to be in the nosebleed section. But you’re a real sports fan and deserve the see the action up close. So, what do you do when your seats suck? Try one of these following techniques to seat hop at any sporting event – or get kicked out trying.

Isolate The Slacker Usher

Get to the stadium early and scope out each section and get a profile on the ushers. The muscular, ex-military commando types and any geezer older than 60 are to be avoided like the grim reaper. They’ll be the ones who take their volunteer job way too seriously. Instead, focus on the 20-something with the sideways ball cap who can’t stop looking at his cell phone. This guy is your target. He’s easily bored, has the attention span of a three-year-old, and, like you, just wants to see the game up close. Wait until he turns his back to the field and buries his face into his phone then calmly and casually walk past him and into the forbidden zone. It’s tempting here to sneak through like  Ace Ventura Pet Detective, but that will only attract attention. Confidence is the key here. Walk by the usher like you belong and your target most likely won’t even notice you exist.

Blend In With A Group

Some advance reconnaissance may be required to pull this technique off, but if you can find a family or a group of friends that tend to travel in packs, you may be able to simply blend in. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed and have similar mannerisms to the group or family you’ve identified as your best shot to VIP status. If you and your friends are wearing home team jerseys and the group you want to follow is there to root for the visitors, take a pass. Once you’ve identified the perfect group, strike up a conversation with a couple of group members in the concession stand line or gate entrance and continue chatting and laughing as you walk into the reserved section. Let the group’s leader show his ticket to the usher and say, “they’re with me,” and, voila, you’ve escaped the cheap seats, for today, at least.

Create A Bogus Press Pass

Before you try this technique out, let’s be clear. A fake press pass is not meant to get you into the press box. The staff guarding the door to the official media areas can smell a fake a mile away. However, I’ve found that a press credential from a real media outlet provides access to anywhere else I want to go, from the expensive seats up close to the action in the VIP tents with imported beer, catered spreads, and chocolate chip cookies the size of tractor tires. But since you’re most likely not a member of the working press, let me help you out.

There are dozens of websites where you can create press credentials, such as ID Creator or Easy Card ID. Just choose the appropriate template – ideally, one that requires a lanyard, not a wallet card – upload your headshot, give your fake media outlet a name like or Sweat Sock Magazine, and add the logo of the home team, and for around 10 bucks you’ll have a press pass that can fool the average usher or volunteer guard trying to hold the riff-raff at bay. For added effect, slip a notebook into your back pocket, and hang a camera around your neck, and no one will think twice when you flash that pass and stroll right through.

Utilizing one of these seat-hopping techniques is sure to enhance your chances of getting a better seat for the game. However, if you get thrown out of the stadium, at least you’ll have a good story to tell the guys at the local bar.  Good luck and happy seat hopping.