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Procrastination pays for cheap concert tickets

Looking at the prices for a hot concert or rival baseball match-up, cheap summer fun can seem anything but.

On the secondary market, tickets for popular acts such as Justin Timberlake and Paul McCartney are averaging $243 and $241, respectively, reports aggregator SeatGeek.com. (See chart below for the going rates for some of this summer's popular shows.) Baseball fans, meanwhile, are seeing box office ticket prices that are 2 percent higher than last season, according to Team Marketing Report. That's $27.93 for the average seat and $93.41 for premium ones. (See chart below for some of the priciest and cheapest teams.)

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But there's no need to pay a premium price—or in most cases, even shell out for a ticket's face value. Event tickets are the rare area where it can pay to be either an early-bird or a procrastinator.

Secondary-market prices for popular summer concerts

Average Ticket Price
One Direction with 5 Seconds of Summer $197
Katy Perry with Capital Cities $162
Bruno Mars with Aloe Blacc $189
Beyonce with Jay-Z $182
Justin Timberlake $243
Eminem with Odd Future and Danny Brown and The Alchemist and Tyler, The Creator $179
Motley Crue with Alice Cooper $134
Lady Gaga with Lady Starlight and CRAYON POP $141
Paul McCartney $241
Queen with Adam Lambert $181
Dave Matthews Band $157
Blake Shelton with The Band Perry and Neal McCoy $145
KISS with Def Leppard and Lotus $144
Linkin Park with 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI $142
Nine Inch Nails with Soundgarden and Death Grips $132
SOURCE: SeatGeek.com

Baseball teams with the priciest, and cheapest, tickets

Average ticket price
Change from 2013
Boston Red Sox $52.32 4.8%
New York Yankees $51.55 0.0%
Chicago Cubs $44.16 -0.9%
Philadelphia Phillies $37.42 0.0%
Washington Nationals $35.24 0.0%
Tampa Bay Rays $21.01 3.0%
Atlanta Braves $18.53 3.8%
Pittsburgh Pirates $18.32 6.5%
Arizona Diamondbacks $17.98 6.4%
San Diego Padres $16.37 2.4%
SOURCE: Team Marketing Report

For a must-see event, look to your credit card. Issuers often offer cardholders early access to tickets for upcoming games and shows, helping you pay face value for tickets that might fetch two or three times as much, secondhand. Or just standout deals. MasterCard has tickets for select Yankees games at half-price, and others, for just $5.

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And when the event is sold out? Then, it can pay to wait. According to a 2013 SeatGeek analysis, the average day-of secondary market price for a concert was 19.3 percent cheaper than 7 days earlier. Broadway show prices were 18.4 percent cheaper on the day of than the week before, and major league baseball tickets, 27 percent cheaper.

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