Some people are willing to pay anything for a front-row seat to the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, but they won’t be able to buy the tickets on eBay anymore. At the urging of Senator Dianne Feinstein and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, the world’s most popular online auction house has pulled all existing sales of the tickets. In some cases, the sellers were asking upwards of $40,000 per ticket.
The funny thing is, the 240,000 “front-row” tickets are free and will be distributed the week before the inauguration by Congressional Representatives and Senators. Other seats nearby and along the parade route are selling for approximately $25 and up. Obama will be inaugurated on January 20th, 2009, and the National Park Service estimates that more than one million people will attend the inauguration.
To prevent further sales, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation yesterday that would make scalping inauguration tickets a misdemeanor punishable by a fine and up to one year imprisonment. The bill is expected to pass.
Scalpers taking advantage of free tickets is a common occurrence and some readers may remember last year’s free Bon Jovi concert in Central Park New York. 60,000 free tickets were handed out for that concert, but some of them ended up on Craigslist and eBay for as much as $1500 each.
This time Craigslist is being used for a different reason. Many of the Washington DC-area hotels are sold out and nearby homeowners are offering up their houses and rooms for up to $20,000 for the week. In one Craigslist ad, one person was renting out his apartment rooms for a princely sum of $1700 per night.