Tickets to the Inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, which have been listed for big prices on some secondary ticket Web sites, must be picked up in person by the attendee, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC).
The January 20, 2009 event in Washington D.C., is shaping up to be one of the most eagerly anticipated Inaugurations in recent memory, due in part to the historic election of Obama, the first African-American President-Elect. For example, tickets were being listed for thousands of dollars last week on StubHub and other sites.
More than 250,000 tickets are expected to be printed, according to the JCCIC, but perhaps as many as 2 million people are expected to descend on the district for the ceremony and related balls and other events.
Tickets will be distributed in bulk to U.S. Senators and Representatives, who will then dole them out to their constituents for free, but already interest appears to be trumping demand. Members of Congress and their staffs are prohibited from reselling the tickets, and those who request them are required to pick them up in person and present identification.
Some broker Web sites, including TicketNetwork, parent company of TicketNews, are already offering refunds for tickets that have been purchased.
“The public should also be aware that no website or other ticket outlet actually has inaugural swearing-in tickets to sell, regardless of what they may claim. Tickets will not be distributed to Congressional offices until the week before the inauguration and will require in-person pick-up,” the JCCIC’s Web site said.
In a prepared statement, Howard Gantman, Staff Director for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said ticket buyers should be careful before purchasing tickets for the event.
“Any website or ticket broker claiming that they have inaugural tickets is simply not telling the truth. Tickets for the swearing-in of President-elect are all provided through members of Congress, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect through the Presidential Inaugural Committee. We urge the public to view any offers of tickets for sale with great skepticism,” he said.