If you are a college basketball fan, the temptation to attend a March Madness game is hard to overcome. Unless you are the lucky recipient of free tickets, it may not be worth the hundreds of dollars it will cost you to go as a family or with friends. Don’t worry, though; there are other, more affordable options for getting into the madness.
Last year there were events all around Kansas City in the weeks surrounding March Madness. It’s probably safe to assume The College Basketball Experience next to the Sprint Center will extend their hours. Their “Men of March” exhibit gives a behind-the-scenes look at the greatest basketball coaches throughout the years. When you’re finished touring the exhibit, you can look for a lively group of tailgaters in the nearby Power & Light District to discuss your bracket with.
If your kids are old enough to run amok in an arcade for a few hours, Dave & Buster's is another great alternative. They can have a basketball shootout while mom and dad watch the game. Just be sure to check sites like RetailMeNot for deals before you go. Arcades not your thing? Every restaurant with TVs should be airing the games, but call ahead for a table.
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As for me, I’m looking forward to another March tournament – the Big 12 Big Q, a BBQ competition open to the public, with teams representing each of the 10 universities participating in the tournament. Winner takes BBQ bragging rights.
In Your Own Home
All that said, if you’re the hosting type, potlucks are where it’s at. Your kids can run off with friends and you’ll be left to enjoy the dozens of casseroles and dips crafted by friends and family. There are plenty of cute, quirky March Madness-themed recipes online, so get inspired. The at-home option is cheap and easy and child care is free – it’s a no-brainer!
You can also add a little competitive spirit to the watch-party by hosting a bracket. We’re long past the days of making handouts and writing in selected teams. There are now a number of websites and apps to track everyone’s picks, all in one place. Prizes don’t need to be expensive and can be as simple as a homemade meal or offer to carpool the kiddos for a week.
Deep down you know spending upwards of $100 per ticket to a game may not work for your budget. Take a deep breath and repeat after me, “I do not need to go to a March Madness game. I do not need to go to a March Madness game …” Kansas City is full of less pricey, just as entertaining alternatives. Boomer Sooner!
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.