Listings for tickets to the Michael Jackson memorial service at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Tuesday appeared on eBay and Craigslist as soon as winners were notified on Sunday.
One eBay listing asked for a Buy It Now price of $20,000, while other prices varied. Buyers and sellers must act fast, as ticket winners received a unique code and instructions to pick up their tickets Monday at Dodger Stadium.
When they pick up their tickets, a wristband will be placed on each person’s wrist. Organizers will check IDs to make sure those picking up wristbands are the same people who originally applied online, said Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth.
Fans must have both the ticket and the wristband to enter Staples Center on Tuesday. Wristbands that have been ripped, taped or tampered with will be voided.
But winners were permitted to give anyone their second bracelet, so “theoretically, the second wrist band can be sold,” Roth said.
Organizers were considering how to distribute any unclaimed seats, but had not immediately decided on a plan, Roth said.
Meanwhile, former Jackson business associate Marc Schaffel told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Debbie Rowe, the mother of Jackson’s two oldest children, was confirmed for VIP seats at the memorial service on Tuesday.
OMG OMG OMG!
On Sunday evening, fans around the world started posting Twitter messages about receiving tickets.
“I’m in shock that it has happened,” said Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco. “It’s surreal.” She received an e-mail message at 4:35 p.m. notifying her, “Congratulations, your application was successful.”
She immediately Twittered: “OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!”
Soon after receiving his invitation, David Gobaud, 25, who studies computer science at Stanford University, was scrambling to find his way down to Los Angeles.
“It’s amazing. It’s quite a surprise. I didn’t believe it was real in the beginning,” he said. “It’s Michael Jackson, one of the greatest musical stars of all time.”
Another winner was Zach Moss, a 21-year-old Chicagoan working for the summer as a DJ in Las Vegas. He said clubgoers have responded strongly to Jackson’s music since his death.
“You can play two, three Michael Jackson songs back to back and people are going to have this huge jubilation celebration,” he said. “Everyone throws their drinks up and shouts, ’MJ!’ It’s extremely powerful.” More than 1.6 million fans registered online for free in the random drawing of only 8,750 names. Each person selected will receive two tickets. The odds of getting a ticket were about 1 in 183.
No ticket? Stay away
The tickets will admit 11,000 people to the Staples Center plus 6,500 in the Nokia Theater overflow section next door. The streets around the stadium will be closed to prevent those without tickets from trying to attend, police said Sunday.
The ceremony will not be shown on Staples' giant outdoor TV screen and there will be no funeral procession through the city. No details were available about the actual memorial events.
Assistant Police Chief Jim McDonnell warned people without tickets to stay away: “You’ll be standing in the hot sun on a city street with a lot of other people ... but not within eyeshot of Staples.”
At the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles hotel about a half mile from the Staples Center, more than 90 percent of the hotel’s 1,000 rooms were booked for Monday and Tuesday night, up from about 60 percent last week.
“There’s a lot of demand right now,” said spokesman Marc Loge. “We are going to sell out.”
Investigation into singer’s death continuesJackson died at age 50 on June 25 after going into cardiac arrest in the bedroom of his rented mansion. The cause of Jackson’s death has not been determined. Autopsy results are not expected for several weeks.
Also Sunday, a judge signed search warrants connected to the investigation of Jackson’s death, Los Angeles County Superior Court spokesman Allan Parachini said. The warrants were sealed and Parachini would not discuss any details.
Authorities are investigating allegations that Jackson had been consuming painkillers, sedatives and antidepressants. The powerful sedative Diprivan, which is usually administered by anesthesiologists in hospitals, was found in his home. It was not known what drugs, if any, Jackson obtained from doctors.
Jackson’s family was planning a private ceremony at the Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, McDonnell said. He did not provide further details.
More than a week after his death, tributes and accolades keep coming. Madonna had a Jackson impersonator dance to “Wanna Be Starting Something” at her concert Saturday in the same London arena where he was to stage his comeback.
The Rev. Al Sharpton called for nationwide “love vigils” for Jackson, asking people to gather in schools, community centers and churches to watch the memorial service and talk about the pop star’s “message” instead of the “mess” surrounding his death.
Colin Powell said in an interview aired Sunday that Jackson had controversy in his life, but in death his art should be celebrated.
“Yes, there were some challenges in his life,” the former secretary of state told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Yes, there was a great deal of controversy about him. But he’s now passed on. Let’s celebrate his art.”
Service will be broadcast live
The memorial service will be broadcast on five television networks, after NBC executives changed their minds Sunday and decided to air the service live. NBC joins ABC, CNN, MSNBC and E! Entertainment.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC.)
City officials are preparing for huge crowds. McDonnell, the assistant police chief, would not say how many police would be on the job, but alluded to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the recent championship celebration for the Los Angeles Lakers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.