What is the price of history? In the case of the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, the cost to some supporters could reach about $2,300 or more.
Interest in tickets for the January 20, 2009, inauguration ceremony for Obama in Washington, DC is growing rapidly. The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and the Presidential Inaugural Committee will reportedly generate more than a quarter of a million free tickets for the event and distribute them to the offices of each senator and congressman, who will then dole them out to the public. But that won’t stop brokers and others from reselling them, and considering the once-in-a-lifetime nature and popularity of President-Elect Obama, those tickets could fetch a pretty penny.
On StubHub today, tickets for prime viewing locations of the inauguration parade were listed for between $566 and $1,595, and tickets for a seat to the swearing-in ceremony were listed from $1,001 to $2,286. The company had five separate listings each for the parade and the swearing in and a total of 29 tickets, according to StubHub spokesperson Vanessa Daniele.
“We are taking a conservative stance for this historic event,” Daniele told TicketNews, adding that only those with tickets in hand will be permitted to list until the company gets a better handle on the logistics of the event. “All inaugural tickets listed on StubHub.com are from valid sellers who we’ve determined through our screening process. Our first priority is providing the best fan experience and backing every transaction with StubHub’s Fan Protect Guarantee of delivering authentic tickets on time, even if it means missing out on early sales.”
In addition, AAA.com is advertising an inauguration travel package for less than $1,000 per person that includes tickets to parade and swearing in, hotel reservations and tours of area monuments.
Currently, TicketNetwork does not yet have any listings for the January event, and by contrast four years ago when President Bush was sworn in for a second time the company sold less than 10 tickets for it.
Despite the excitement the inauguration is generating, opinions on what President-Elect Obama will do to help small businesses, and in turn ticket brokers, continue to come in. As the quintessential small businessman, brokers are watching closely what Obama will do to help them navigate through the troubled economy.
Connecticut ticket broker Paul Incerto, owner of TrueNorthTickets.com, said he is a registered Republican who voted for Senator John McCain, and he believes the ticket industry is approaching a difficult time. “As far as the ticket industry is concerned, I really don’t think the presidency has anything to do with it at this point,” he said.
“I do feel that the way the economy is at this point it is making it very difficult for our business, and all the financial institutions are tightening up on our credit which is going to make it very difficult for us to do business. So, if Obama is going to help us in any way he will have to make the financial institutions keep lending. What I feel is, the financial institutions are tightening up on the wrong individuals. I also think that this industry is changing drastically and you will see in the future that there will not be as many players in this industry.”
(The image accompanying this story is from Businessweek.com