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Teams hit the 100 game mark of the season this week and with just 62 games left, the race for the playoffs is heading into the home stretch. Three teams from the American League and three from the National league are guaranteed a slot in the Best-of-five division series with another 2 teams from each league a one-game wild card playoff. Despite one wild-card world series winner in the past four years (St. Louis Cardinals in 2011), we aren’t putting much stock in the wild-card winners this year. Here’s who we like:

#5:   Washington Nationals – The Nationals have it all. They have pitching, they can hit, run and score. Stephen Strasburg is ready to unleash his true potential in the off-season and sitting him in 2012 might finally pay dividends. Bryce Harper continues to improve as Nationals bats start to heat up in August.   The Atlanta Braves will continue to put pressure on the Nats in the NL East but we see the team from the Nation’s Capital coming out on top.

#4: Baltimore Orioles – The O’s biggest hurdle is coming out of the AL East. But with fading hopes from the Red Sox and Yankees, the Orioles will put pressure on the Toronto Blue Jays. The Os picked up Andrew Miller from the Red Sox before the trade deadline and that addition should give some strength to the talented Baltimore pitching. The bats of Manny Machado, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones could be the punch they need to get them to the final round.

#3: Detroit Tigers – The Tigers look to return to the promised land in 2014. Their pitching gained post-season experience in Max Scherzer and Jason Verlander. And with the recent addition of David Price, look for an impressive rotation heading into the playoffs. They are sure to come out of the AL Central as a powerhouse. The only concern is their first round matchup, which could be against the As.

#2: Los Angeles Dodgers – The perennial favorite to win it all, the Dodgers are going to run away with the National League West. Stacked bats and terrific pitching behind Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers could certainly make it difficult for any team in the NL. But their youthful mistakes could ultimately cost them in the Series and that’s why we like them as the runner up.

#1: Oakland As – The Oakland As continue to do things the Billy Bean way with a microscopic payroll. The money flexibility allowed the organization to scoop up lefthander Jon Lester, who brings a deadly 2.57 ERA and plenty of World Series experience to the As. The best offiense in the game took a hit watching Yoenis Cespedes traded to Boston. And while Jonny Gomes doesn’t bring the talent back to the As, he brings World Series experience and we think that’s going to be enough. CheapSeatsTickets is also based out of CA so we’re a little biased!

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We love the holiday season here at Cheapseatstickets and what says Christmas more than the Rockettes spectacular at Radio City Music Hall?! It’s one of the most popular winter events and we want to make sure you have all the information to get the best seats at the best prices.

The holiday spectacular staring the Rockettes starts November 7 with multiple shows seven days a week running through December 31. Despite a huge advertising presence on the secondary market, the only place to get tickets direct from Radio City is at their website www.radiocity.com or through Ticketmaster. And here are some important tips you should remember when purchasing seats either direct from the venue or on the secondary market:

1)   SECTIONS – The center section at Radio City Music Hall is #4. IF you want to be right in the center, pick Orchestra 4 or any of the Mezzanine “4” sections. #1 and #7 are closest to the walls.

2)   ROWS – The first Orchestra row at Radio City Music Hall is “AA” with double letters running through “ZZ.” The 27th row of the Orchestra is “A” and runs through row “W.” So make sure you know that Row W is in the back of the house (49 rows off the stage) while row WW is row 23.

3)   BALCONY – 1st Mezzanine is the lowest balcony and 3rd Mezzanine is the highest. The first mezzanine has 12 rows starting with A. The second mezzanine has 11 rows and the third mezzanine has 8 rows.

4)   DATES – If you are buying direct from Ticketmaster, generally tickets for weekday shows are cheaper than the weekends and prices go up as you get closer to December 25. First row, dead center in the 1st Mezzanine will cost you about $120 for a November matinee on Tuesday but the same seat will run you $185 on Saturday, December 27!

5)   SOLD OUT – These shows definitely sell out but there are tons of seating options in July and August. So plan ahead because those $120 seats will cost a whole lot more if you wait until the last minute.

We helped more than three hundred families and friends attend the Christmas Spectacular in 2013. We hope to help more both in their preparation and with tickets this holiday season. Good luck and if you have any questions, you know how to reach us.

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Thirty years ago, purchasing tickets on the secondary market was pretty simple.  You or a friend had “a guy” that always seemed to have access to great seats and often tickets to sold-out events.  You either bought the tickets or you didn’t.  The alternative was to go to the event empty handed and hope to find someone “scalping” a ticket.

The Internet has certainly changed the way people obtain tickets.  You might still have “a guy” but that guy is available to just about anyone located anywhere in the world.  So how do you know if a ticket website is legit or not?

The easiest way to determine if a site is legit is to simply look at the inventory.  Google an event like “New York Yankee Tickets” and you’re going to see literally hundreds of websites that all look the same to a certain extent.  But most sites draw their inventory from a central provider.  So if you see the exact same seats on a couple of websites, odds are the sites are legitimate and they draw inventory from a common source.

A lot of consumers rely on logos like the one from the Better Business Bureau.  A BBB logo certainly increases the odds a site is legit but is not dispositive.  Make sure the BBB logo on a particular site actually links back to the BBB (click on the link; it should open a page on the BBB with the name of the website and a solid rating).  On the other hand, we at Cheapseatstickets do not have BBB accreditation but are legit.  We choose not to carry the logo because the annual expense is very high; that’s not a cost we think is worth passing on to the customers (and is why our ticket prices are low).  We also stand by our service and tickets regardless of accreditation.

You definitely want to look for a secure checkout.  When you select your tickets, take a look at the URL display at the top of your browser.  If you don’t see “https” (that “s” at the end means secure) or a logo that says “secure” (some browsers add that in), be very careful.

A lot of people want security logos too, like the McAfee Secure logo or the GoDaddy “Verified and Secured” logo.  These are great but they also cost money.  The annual fees for many of these logos can reach into the thousands of dollars.  Those costs are generally passed on directly to the purchaser.

The bottom line is security costs money.  Look for a broker that has a solid reputation or find a friend who has had success with a specific company.  And if you have any questions, call the number on the website.  If they sound fishy, try another company.

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July is the time of year when sports, concert and theater enthusiasts complain “there’s nothing to do” and nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, baseball is the only one of the four professional sports in action but there’s plenty to do in your area and we’ll help you find out what’s going on.

If you happen to live in the Sacramento area, the closest big league event is a ticket to see the Oakland As or the San Francisco Giants.   But the California capitol has a great little stadium just across the river where the local River Cats play. You’re not going to see the marquis names of the big league teams but you’re sure to get a great seat at a fantastic price. We’ve found River Cats tickets in the first row on top of the dugout for less than $35! Considering the same seat in the Bay Area might add an additional “zero” to that figure, it’s a great way to see some pro sports.

Sacramento, like other big cities, has a great comedy scene. The Punch Line Comedy Club features some of the best comedy acts and showcases up and coming performers. This summer features the comedy of Michael Yo, Tom Segura, Aries Spears and Carlos Mencia.

And just outside Sacramento are a couple of Casinos that host some of the nations biggest acts. Larry the Cable Guy is performing at Thunder Valley Casino in July and Jim Gaffigan plays the amphitheater in September. Also headlining at the Casino are Martina McBride, Bill Cosby, New Edition, and Lynrd Skynyrd.

Looking for something to do with the kids? Look no further than the Sleep Train Arena, home of the Sacramento Kings, where Disney Live, Disney on Ice and Ringling Brothers will bring their acts. Or leave the kids at home and attend WWE Live or a UFC event.

So even when there’s nothing to do, there’s something to do. And our location services make it easier than ever to find events close to you. Just go to the home page at Cheapseatstickets.com and your local events will pop up automatically. Or click on the cities button and locate the city of your choice. Have a Great summer and enjoy the events!

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Let’s face it, the NFL preseason is about as unexciting as it gets.  Just Google the phrase coupled with “sucks” and you’ll yield almost 7.5 million results!  Even the league agrees the preseason is worthless, thus discussions to eliminate preseason games and schedule more regular season games.  But there are some compelling reasons to get preseason tickets and here are five:

1)  CHEAP TICKET PRICES – almost all NFL teams require season ticket purchasers to buy 10 games: 8 regular season tickets and 2 preseason tickets.  But the pricing is not discounted for the preseason seats.  Accordingly, the season ticket purchaser is paying the same price for the preseason match as the regular season game.  A large majority of season ticket holders simply don’t attend preseason games.  And this creates a surplus of tickets which means prices are often well below face value.  Want to sit on the 50 yard line at the new Levi Stadium?  A pair of regular season tickets could cost you upwards of $5,000!  But the same seats in the preseason go for $400 for the pair.

2)  KID FRIENDLY – let’s face it, NFL games can get pretty rowdy.  It’s a testosterone charged environment where an entire season can be made on a play.  But the preseason is really just a showcase of prospective players so fans tend to be a bit more calm.  We hear less profanity at preseason gams and find kids just enjoy the experience.  Plus it’s not a big deal when they have to use the bathroom or want a hot dog!

3)  SEE NEW TEAMS – generally, the preseason matches up teams that typically don’t see each other during the regular NFL season.  So if you’ve always wanted to see a particular player, you might have a great opportunity during the preseason.  The games we’re interested in include the Cowboys at San Diego, the Jets at Philadelphia, the Broncos at San Francisco and the Super Bowl rematch between the Seahawks and Broncos in Denver.

4)  SCOUT NEW PLAYERS – while the “starters” typically get to play the first quarter or two of a preseason game, the second half is generally reserved for backup and third string players.  And you never know if you might witness greatness that will lead to a future hall-of-fame spot.

5)  EXTRA POINT EXPERIMENT – the league is testing longer extra points this year by spotting the ball on the 20-yard line during the first two preseason games.  While extra point conversions hover around 99%, a 30-yard kick might yield a few more mistakes.  Could be interesting!!!

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Kiss and Def Leppard started their North American tour last week when they kicked off in West Valley City, Utah.  A “fan” posted on Facebook said he wished there was a way to buy a ticket to half the show!  WE had a hard time figuring out which half this fan wanted to see, and it got us thinking about a show we saw almost 22 years ago to the day.

On July 18, 1992, Guns n Roses and Metallica played the second date of their North American tour and I was there.  At the time, I was addicted to Guns n Roses.  Appetite for Destruction was five years old but the songs were as new as ever.  Rolling Stone magazine named the album one of the best of the 80s and a heavier brand of music was available to the masses.

Metallica, on the other hand, was not a band fit for a clean-cut Jersey kid.  They were for the long-haired, head bangers that wore jeans jackets and were doing things in 8th grade that I didn’t find out about until my late 20s!  Nothing Else Matters released just a few weeks before the tour and hadn’t yet crossed into mainstream radio.

So I went to the concert excited to see GNR and anticipated leaving soon thereafter.   GNR played for about 45 minutes before someone threw a shoe at Axl Rose.  He walked off stage and that was that.  The performance probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer anyway.  And then Metallica took the stage.  It was clear these guys took rock to a different level.  Hearing a stadium chant “Seek & Destroy” was mesmerizing.    Master of Puppets had a precision I had never quite heard.  And the finale of Enter Sandman sold me on the band.  I’ve been a fan ever since.

For me, the lesson is clear.  You never know what you’re going to get at a performance.  Had someone offered me $20 for the second half, I would have chomped at the bit.  In hindsight, it would have been a HUGE mistake.  So for those fortunate enough to herald Kiss and Def Leppard tickets, enjoy the show.  You probably don’t get out much and who knows, you might like the one you didn’t think you’d like!

As usual, Cheapseatstickets.com has a huge selection of Kiss and Def Leppard tour tickets.  The tour runs through August 8 so look for a show near you.

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Baseball is a long season.  While every game is potentially important, a win here and a loss there most likely isn’t going to make or break a teams’ post season chances.  So with half the 2014 season out of the way, many are ready to settle on the division winners but we’re not so sure.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were the perennial favorites not only to win the NL West but to win the whole kit and caboodle.   With a staggering $239 million payroll, everyone expected the all-star packed lineup to waltz into the post season.  But as they say, that’s why we play the game.  The San Francisco Giants certainly made a name for themselves in May finishing the month with a 8-2 run.  But they stumbled mid June leaving the door wide open for the Dodgers as the two will likely enter the all star break with similar records.

While the Milwaukee Brewers appear to be on cruise control in the NL Central, the same can’t be said in the NL East where two unfamiliar names are fighting for the top spot in the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins.  But Atlanta, with a mid-of-the-pack payroll, look to stay in front behind the likes of Justin and BJ Upton.

Like the Brewers, the Oakland As are pacing themselves for a 100 win season and should continue to power through the AL West.   The Detroit Tigers have a similar position in the Central Division.

But the most interesting scenario is heating up in the AL East.  The Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles are working hard to keep the Yankees and the Red Sox out of the post season.  The Os, with a team salary less than half of the Bronx Bombers, are doing things the old fashioned way behind the bats of Nick Markakis and Adam Jones.  We expect a heated second half of the season in this division.

It’s a great time to see your favorite team swing the bats.  Ticket prices are prime for the family so look to your industry leader for great seats. Whether you want to sit in the bleachers or behind home plate, we’re your #1 source for great tickets at the lowest prices.  www.cheapseatstickets.com

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Ann Coulter announced in her syndicated column today that the growing interest in soccer “can only be a sign of the nation’s moral decay.” We at Cheapseatstickets have been following the 2014 World Cup Facebook and Twitter posts of fans and friends for the past few weeks and the consensus is anything but universal.   For every blog/post glorifying the World Cup action in Brazil, there are two expressing their distaste for the games.

Our favorite anti-Cup post included a graphic that read “I don’t watch soccer… if I wanted to watch somebody struggle to score for 90 minutes, I’d take my friends out to the bar.” The post rings true for many Americans but it seems those who simply don’t understand the game herald the anti-Cup sentiment.

“Why are their 90 minutes in the game but the official gets to decide if the game goes longer?” “How can you watch such a low-scoring affair?” “What’s up with the yellow cards?” “It’s SO boring!!!”

The questions are fair enough but remind us that at some point, everyone has to learn the nuances of every sport. We recall our childhood fascination learning why a baseball player can strike out and still get to first base! In the United States, we grow up with a formal education in baseball, football and basketball. Soccer is placed on the back burner with the likes of hockey.

And it makes sense that pretty much every nation on the planet lives and dies for this international sport. They are educated in futbol as a way of life. You hear it in their song and cries from the stands. They hang on every pass, every shot and every goal, no matter how few or how many.

So for those that question the validity of soccer, simply look to the billions that revel in the sport. The first round brought us some spectacular play – from the stunning performance of the United States to the shocking tie in the Mexico – Brazil match to the back and forth of the Aussie-Netherlands game. It’s going to be a great Cup and it only happens once in a blue moon.

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LeBron James announced earlier this week that he would exercise his early termination option and thus become a free agent on July 1. And while the pundits sit back and speculate where James will ultimately play basketball, there are fans in Miami and around the nation trying to figure out where the NBA superstar will take his skills. Forecasting where LeBron goes could result in a substantial payoff for the average season ticket holder.

When LeBron James left Cleveland in 2010 to join the Miami Heat, the south beach organization saw their game tickets sales rise from 90.4% to more than 100% per game. Just days after LeBron made his move, the Heat announced they sold out their season ticket inventory. And while Miami Heat fans have already made their season ticket commitment to the 2014-2015 season, many interested clubs have a “vacancy” of available tickets.

We have already seen the articles touting the benefits of LeBron to various teams around the league from the Chicago Bulls to the Houston Rockets to the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers to LeBron’s original team in Cleveland. Season ticket holders are generally obligated to renew the next season when they pay for playoff options. So season ticket holders for Rockets and Clippers games are already committed to next year. But many Lakers and Cavs fans have opted out for next year. If LeBron were to don either of those uniforms, you can thoroughly expect ticket prices to skyrocket.

The lucky season ticket holders won’t have won the Powerball but certainly the next best thing in the sports world. And while we don’t recommend buying a season ticket based on the LeBron speculation, we know those that hold the lucky ticket will be very happy fans!  And of course, if you don’t have seasons, you can always get your tickets from us at www.cheapseatstickets.com

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Penn State defensive assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was recently charged with 40 counts related to sexual abuse of young boys.  He is accused of preying on at least eight individuals he encountered through the Second Mile foundation, an organization Sandusky helped establish to assist needy children.  Penn State, notorious for its squeeky clean reputation, now faces the backlash from Sandusky’s alleged actions.  Speculation as to whether head coach Joe Paterno will be forced from his position remains to be seen as Paterno allegedly followed University protocal by reporting the incident to his superior but did not do anything personally to discipline Sandusky.  More details will unfold this week.

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