Finding new and exciting ways to entertain the entire family can be difficult and, depending on the size of the family, expensive. Minor league sporting events can offer the perfect solution, as they boast family-friendly environments, are less expensive than their major league counterparts.

According to MiLB.com, during the 2015 season a family of four could enjoy a game for an average of $64.18, making it one of the most budget friendly options in sports. Other lower-level professional sports offer fans the same perks. Families can make the most of these inexpensive, unique options by following a few simple steps.

The view from the top of the grandstand at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Fighting' Phils. The least expensive reserved seats give families a great view.

The view from the top of the grandstand at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Photo: Ariane Cain

Step 1: Arrive early to the game. Teams frequently provide giveaways to a certain number of fans, and an early arrival guarantees that your family will get some. Arriving early also makes you eligible for some great deals. The Reading Fightin’ Phils feature a happy hour before most games with one dollar off of select beers and free Phunland for the kids. The Fightin’ Phils provide a complete promotional schedule listing theme nights, giveaways, and gate opening times. The Reading Royals post the same information. Be sure to check the team website or your tickets for gate opening times and plan accordingly.

Step 2: Look for posted rules and listen to announcements. Rules that are prominently posted or announced are important for assuring fan safety. All family members should be made aware of all important rules in order to make the event safer and more enjoyable. Most organizations provide an opportunity to read up on important rules before arriving at the game to leave more time for fun. The Reading Royals provide fans with a basic rundown of rules and official signals to avoid confusion and make the night more enjoyable.

Step 3: Explore the venue. By doing this you can make note of intriguing food stands and streamline your trips away from the seats later. Also, most sporting venues feature some sort of area for kids with games and contests, and several themed areas. Taking a lap or two around the stadium will allow every member of your family to find something that interests them.

Santander Arena, home of the Reading Royals, before the crowds have arrived. Photo by Benjamin Smith

Santander Arena, home of the Reading Royals, before the crowds have arrived.
Photo: Benjamin Smith

Step 4: Talk to the employees. They spend more time at the stadium than anyone else, and chances are that they are the team’s biggest fans. Ask them for suggestions such as their favorite food or favorite spot to view the action from. You never know what secrets they’ll tell you, and sampling some of their favorites might make your experience more interesting.

Step 5: Don’t feel compelled to remain in your seat during game action and only leave between innings or periods. Most of the entertainment happens during the breaks in the action in the form of games and contests, and your family will surely enjoy seeing it. Nearly every venue will have televisions in the areas where the game is not visible, so you won’t miss much action even when standing in line for a burger.

You never know what surprises you'll find at a minor league game! This past summer the Fighting' Phils hosted a surprise appearance by the Galapagos Gang, friends of the Phillie Phanatic, from Citizen's Bank Park.

This past summer the Fighting’ Phils hosted a surprise appearance by the Galapagos Gang, friends of the Phillie Phanatic, from Citizen’s Bank Park. Photo: Ariane Cain

Step 6: Be alert for in-game announcements regarding mascot appearances. You may be able to catch them in the stands, but nearly every organization has a designated area where mascots will appear at specific times throughout the game for pictures and autographs.

Searching for other ways to make the most of your experience? Try talking to other fans and following their suggestions. Many teams feature specific games or contests, so ask around and sign your family up for any that accept volunteers. Give your family their chance in the spotlight! You can also check to see if the organization features any sort of kid’s club, which are generally free and offer prizes and giveaways for the youngest members of the family. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone!

Professional sports may not be the first thought on the search for affordable family entertainment, but the minor leagues provide an inexpensive, enjoyable night for the entire family without much work or preparation.

For more information on games and other family friendly events hosted by the Reading Fightin’ Phils or the Reading Royals be sure to visit their websites.
www.fightins.com
www.royalshockey.com