Officials Aim to Keep Inauguration Tickets Offline

Selling the tickets could become a federal crime.

by staff writer
- Nov 11, 2008

The inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama is expected to draw millions of people to witness the historic occasion, but officials worry scalpers may try to profit from the event—which is supposed to be free to the public.

Tickets to attend the Jan. 20 ceremony are popping up online and could sell for thousands of dollars, officials say.

That's why the Committee of Inauguration Ceremonies is asking online selling sites, including eBay, Craigslist and others, to keep scalped tickets off the Web. Congressional offices are supposed to distribute the 240,000 tickets available in the days before the event. But some tickets are already going for as much as $40,000 online, according to reports.

"This is a major civic event of the time, and no one pays for their tickets, and we believe no one should be required to pay for their tickets," says California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein, who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee of Inaugural Ceremonies, is even working on a bill to make selling the tickets a federal crime.

Nichola Sharpe, an eBay spokeswoman, says the company has been talking to the committee, but will not comment on the situation.

More than 1.2 million attendees are expected to watch Obama be sworn in as president of the United States, according to reports. Several senators have already received requests for tickets. Feinstein's office got 8,000 requests the day after the Nov. 4 election and Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia had more than 15,000 requests as of Nov. 10, according to reports. To request tickets go to

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

Other Entries by this Author

Follow Us