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Posted: Friday July 10, 2009 11:24AM; Updated: Friday July 10, 2009 12:36PM

Sports on the cheap: The 25 best summer sports bargains

Story Highlights

Sports are a great place to find some of the best bargains of the summer

The Cape Cod Baseball League offers a glimpse at future major-league stars

Who needs Baywatch when you can watch lifeguards live in Ft. Lauderdale

By Lia Calabro and Collin Orcutt

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NFL training camps give fans a chance for autographs and a free scouting report on the upcoming season.
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Sure, life's expensive. But attending sporting events doesn't have to be. Below, SI.com offers its list of the top summer sports deals across the country.

1. Monmouth Park Racetrack -- Oceanport, N.J.

The dollar menu isn't limited to McDonald's: You can watch the ponies every Friday in July for just $1. It's the same price for grandstand admission, an official track program and hot dogs and sodas.

2. Fifth-Annual Reef/ Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest -- Wrightsville Beach, N.C., July 10-12

Boogie down with some of the world's top professional and amateur waveriders at this annual surfing fest. Admission is free and events start as early as 7 a.m.

3. Northbrook Velodrome -- Northbrook, Ill.

Cycling's answer to speed skating can be found at this track in Chicago's suburbs. Rider development clinics cost $9 and watching the races is even cheaper: $2 for adults and free for children younger than 12.

4. Cape Cod Baseball League-- Cape Cod, Mass.

Recognized as the best amateur summer league, the Cape Cod Baseball League offers a great setting to pack a picnic and rub shoulders with major-league scouts. The league features the top amateur players from around the country.

5. The Newport Polo Club -- Portsmouth, R.I.

Think polo is just a sport for the kids on Gossip Girl? Not so, says the Newport Polo Club, which has space for tailgate picnics and field-side general admission or grandstand seating. Admission is $10 for adults, children are free.

6. North American Football League -- Various locations, dates

Can't afford an NFL game? Fans can get their summer football fix with this semi-pro football league. Tickets are $10 or less for adults and children are usually free.

7. Minor-league baseball -- Various locations, dates

You'll need to take a loan out to attend a game at Yankee Stadium, but minor-league baseball offers the best summer bargains around. Our favorite: Kraft Singles is hosting a "buy one ticket, get one free" promotion when you bring a Kraft Singles wrapper to any minor-league box office.

8. USLA National Lifeguard Competition -- Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., August 6-8

Spend a day at the beach while watching the fittest lifeguards in the country compete against one another. Admission is free, but don't forget your sunscreen.

9. Kenner League, Georgetown University -- Washington, D.C.

The Kenner League features some of the Big East's top stars, as well as ballers from the past (George Mason point guard Tony Skinn is a frequent player-coach), competing against the area's best talent. Look for the legendary Hoya's coach John Thompson, as well as current Georgetown coach John Thompson III hanging out before game time.

10. U.S. Sailing Championships -- St. Louis, September 25-27

Would-be boaters can catch the country's top sailors tack and jibe their way to the prestigious Mrs. Charles Francis Adams Cup and Clifford D. Mallory Trophy.

11. Futures at Fenway -- Boston, August 8

The doubleheader at Fenway Park highlights the best of Boston's minor-league affiliates. The Double-A Portland Sea Dogs play in first game, while the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox will be featured in the second. Tickets are priced at as little as $5 for the bleacher seats.

12. Great International William Atwood Lobster Crate Race -- Rockland, Maine, August 2

Contestants from all over the world take a shot at navigating a string of 50 partially submerged lobster crates. The winner is the person who runs the most crates before falling into the chilly Atlantic Ocean. The cost: $8 for a full-day ticket to the festival.

12. The 63rd Little League Baseball World Series -- Williamsport, Pa., August 21-30

It's just like the real thing, minus the bench-clearing brawls, ticket scalpers and steroids. The LLWS highlights the best 12 and 13-year-olds in the country, playing for the right to represent the U.S. in the world-championship game. Admission is free, and how's this for a deal: a hot dog, soda and Cracker Jacks will run you $3.

13. Entertainer's Basketball Classic -- Rucker Park, New York City, June 15 to mid-August, Mon. -Thurs. evenings

It's summer streetball on one of the most historic courts in the country. Although Rucker is no longer the automatic best streetball in the city, there's hardly a more storied location. Admission is free, but you better get there early to get a bleacher seat. The best men's games tip-off at 6:30 or 8 p.m.

14. St. Paul Saints -- St. Paul, Minn.

The non-affiliated Saints (actor Bill Murray is one of the owners) are not only a great place to catch some baseball, the between-innings stunts make the ticket costs (as low as $5 a pop) one of the best deals of the summer. A pig delivers baseballs to the umpire between innings (among other duties), and upcoming promotion nights include Twitter-my-face (July 23) and pocket-protector giveaway night (July 24) which features The Nerd Pride Parade.

15. Major League Soccer -- Various locations, dates

One benefit of the world's most-popular sport not catching fire in the U.S.? Cheap tickets. Check out stars like Landon Donovan (L.A. Galaxy) and Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago Fire) for $20 a ticket.

16. Second-Annual Sky Bounce Handball Championship -- New York, July 18-19

For two days in July, the best ball swatting in the country takes place in New York City. You can check out the action for free. Top divisions play at the North Meadow Recreational Center in Central Park.

17. NBA Summer League -- Las Vegas, July 10-19
Get a look at the NBA's future stars competing for their teams for the first time. Twenty-one teams will play 55 games in 10 days. General admission tickets are $25, so pick a day with four games to get the most for your money.

18. WNBA Games -- Various locations, dates

It costs as little as $10 to check out the biggest stars in the women's game.

19. 2009 North American Bicycle Polo Championship -- Seattle, August 7-9

Bike polo? Yep. It's the pinky-up game of polo mixed with the urban counterculture cool of fixies; the equipment consists of bicycles, street hockey balls and mallets. In other words, it's an oxymoron worth watching. Admission is free.

20. Oakland Athletics BART Double-Play Wednesdays -- Oakland, Calif.

For all of the team's Wednesday home games (July 22, August 5, Sept. 2), the A's are offering $2 tickets and $1 hot dogs.

21. NFL Training Camp -- Various locations, Camps open by August 3

Get an early look at your favorite team on the cheap without the crush of a stadium full of fans. Or, if you're lazy, just stay home and watch the insanity of Chad OchoCinco on HBO's Hard Knocks. Admission is free.

22. Fast Plastic Whiffle Ball -- Various locations, dates

Fast Plastic is a national whiffle ball league that runs in 18 locations over the course of the summer, culminating in a championship game played in Austin in October.

23. Vigilucci's World Beach Bocce Ball Championship --Del Mar, Calif., July 18

Come watch 300 contestants vie for the chance to call themselves beach bocce ball world champion (as if you really need a reason to go to the beach).

24. AAU Senior Boys' Basketball National Championship -- Lake Buena Vista, Fla., July 28-August 1

Here's your chance to see the country's top basketball talent before they become household names. It should be the best AAU tournament of the summer.

25. Major League Lacrosse All-Star Game -- July 16, Denver

It's "Old School" against the "Young Guns" in what promises to be a high-scoring, frenetically-paced game (last year the two teams combined for 46 points). The game's halftime will feature the skills competition, including the entertaining freestyle event. Tickets start as low as $10.

Click here for top 10 activities to do this summer

Top 10 sporting events for $10 or less

Did we miss one? Suggest your favorite sports deal here.

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