Entries in Tickets (2)


Inauguration Black Market Tickets Raise Dilemma, Stir Action

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you're still in the market for a free ticket to the inauguration swearing-in ceremony, it is going to cost you.

The tickets are supposed to be distributed free of charge by congressional offices, but online scalpers are giving would-be attendees the option to shell out up to $4,300 on Craigslist and eBay.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, announced Thursday that his office would be working with eBay and Craigslist to remove listings for black market tickets.

"This year's presidential inaugural ceremonies are not for sale," Schumer said in a statement. "This is a chance for people from all 50 states to celebrate our democracy, not for ticket scalpers to make a quick buck."

A spokesperson for eBay confirmed the auction site had removed listings for inauguration tickets.

"The tickets that were up for sale for President Obama's inauguration have been removed from eBay," said eBay spokesperson Amanda Miller. "These listings were in violation of our ticket policy."

The original packaged deals included a range of events starting with single event admissions, to combinations of tickets to the inauguration ceremony, presidential parade route and the official Inaugural Black Tie Ball invitations, complete with transportation and accommodations.

Constituents nationwide were able to receive inauguration tickets for free by contacting their district representatives and adding their names to a ticket lottery system. Although this method attempts to create a fair way for all people to be able to view history in action, it does not always work out in the constituents' favor.

Supply and demand causing exorbitant prices for popular events should not come as a surprise. But the Presidential Inauguration is a historically public event and the tickets are technically supposed to be free, so black market sales of these tickets creates some ethical issues.

Those who were lucky enough to win placement through the lottery are technically free to do whatever they choose with their allotment. However, according to the congressional committee, winners will be asked to sign a document in which they promise not to sell any awarded tickets.

A Craigslist seller going by the name 'Obama Tickets' cites tough economic times as the reason for why he disregarded the pledge.

"A man has to provide for his family," he says.

Glenn Lehrman, a representative for online ticket marketplace StubHub, said the company was "not permitting the resale of [inaugural] events." This statement comes after Ticketmaster mistakenly sold out of Inaugural Ball tickets before they even went on sale.

Some constituents have been adding their names to the lottery as early as two months in advance only to come out ticketless.

"My friend and I requested two [tickets] each a few months ago," said Georgetown University student Cory Benavente. "She was selected for one, and I didn't win any."

There's no official monitoring system to track whether a ticket has been scalped, but individuals with tickets will go through security checkpoints when they arrive for the viewing.

The lack of recipient tracking creates a gap between having people pledge not to resell awarded lottery tickets and incentivizing recipients to keep their promise. Without a way to track the allotted tickets, it is difficult to make the pledge as honorable as possible.

Reports of ticket scalping have just started trickling in over the last few days, the committee said, and it is already asking congressional members to encourage honor code policies. This same situation occurred during the 2009 inauguration, but according to Craigslist seller' Obama Tickets, "This time around [selling tickets] is harder, not as many people are interested."

The inauguration parade can also be viewed from non-ticketed areas.

The distribution date for inauguration ceremony tickets has not yet been announced.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oops: Ticketmaster Mixup Sells Out Obama Inaugural Ball

Behind the scenes at the 2009 Inaugural Ball. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — An inadvertent early sale of tickets to events surrounding President Obama’s second inauguration means some would-be attendees won’t get their chance to see the occasion.

Public sales for the inaugural ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the day’s parade were scheduled to be released Monday morning on Ticketmaster. But in an email to waiting buyers released by the vendor Monday, Ticketmaster admitted that sales inadvertently went up Sunday, a day early.

The mix-up was spurred when an email alert system for hopeful buyers misfired, directing recipients to Ticketmaster’s sales site to complete their purchase.

A representative for Ticketmaster said the company was contractually bound not to discuss specifics of sales by its client, the President’s Inaugural Committee. In a written statement the company said regardless of the timing error, tickets were always sold “on a first come first serve basis.”

“While an e-mail indicating that Inaugural event tickets were available was sent earlier than planned, tickets to Inaugural events were sold per usual Ticketmaster process on a first come first serve basis. Everyone who purchased tickets for the Inaugural Ball and the Inaugural parade will receive their tickets,” it reads.

“We understand the disappointment people feel if they were unable to obtain tickets, but like all other popular events, demand was much greater than supply,” the statement reads. “Ticketmaster and PIC will continue to work closely to ensure everyone receives the latest ticketing information.”

The end result was a massive rush on the tickets, completely selling out at least one event — the inaugural ball — before its intended sale time.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio