In a glitch, inaugural ball, parade tickets sold early

NY Times News Service, WASHINGTON

Wed, Jan 09, 2013 - Page 7

All the public tickets to US President Barack Obama’s official inaugural ball and parade were snapped up Sunday — a day before they were scheduled to go on sale — after Ticketmaster inadvertently sent out e-mails announcing they were available, inaugural officials said on Monday.

Inaugural planners announced last month that a limited number of ball tickets — they would not say how many — would be available to the public for US$60 apiece, and they asked people who were interested to sign up on the official inaugural Web site. The committee was also selling tickets to the inaugural parade for US$25 apiece.

The committee said tickets would become available on Monday morning on a first-come, first-served basis.

However, on Sunday evening, Ticketmaster, which was handling the sales, “experienced a technical error that inadvertently caused an e-mail to go out ahead of schedule,” said Addie Whisenant, a spokeswoman for the inaugural committee.

Would-be purchasers were notified that the tickets had been made available.

“The Ticketmaster site was overwhelmed, slowing the purchasing process,” Whisenant said. “Ticketmaster has taken responsibility for this mistake.”

After the glitch was discovered, people who signed up for the e-mail alert received another electronic message from Ticketmaster, under the inaugural committee’s logo, notifying them that the error occurred “during testing of our e-mail system.”

A spokeswoman for Ticketmaster, Jacqueline Peterson, attributed the problem to demand exceeding supply.

“While an email indicating that inaugural event tickets were available was sent earlier than planned, tickets to inaugural events were sold per usual Ticketmaster process on a first come, first serve basis,” Peterson said in an e-mailed statement. “Everyone who purchased tickets for the inaugural ball and the inaugural parade will receive their tickets.”

No more public tickets are available; Whisenant said only that Ticketmaster would be in touch with would-be purchasers “with additional information on ticket sales.”