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
|Artist||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|
|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|
|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: SOURCE: SeatGeek.com
Baseball teams with the priciest, and cheapest, tickets
|Team||Average ticket price||Change from 2013|
|Boston Red Sox||$52.32||4.8%|
|New York Yankees||$51.55||0.0%|
|Tampa Bay Rays||$21.01||3.0%|
|San Diego Padres||$16.37||2.4%|
Source: 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.