TM’s Inaugural Misstep

Many true-blue Democrats looking to score seats at the Jan. 20 inaugural parade and ball were miffed after Ticketmaster flubbed the onsale for the prized tickets.

TM sent out emails Jan. 6 to those who’d signed up to attend the ball, noting tickets for the fête featuring the president and first lady would go on sale Jan. 7 for $60 each, and with $25 tickets for bleacher seats at the parade, the Washington Post reported.

A few hours later, another email was sent with the online link to buy the tickets, unleashing a digital mad dash for the scarce seats.

Tickets soon sold out and TM followed up hours later with another email, acknowledging the mistake.

“Public tickets to these events were originally scheduled to go on sale tomorrow morning – you received the email tonight in error, and Ticketmaster takes responsibility for this mistake,” TM said. “However, a significant number of public tickets were purchased this evening, despite the early email. … All public tickets are first-come, first-served, including those sold tonight. There is no guarantee that you will be able to purchase a ticket at any time. Thank you for your understanding.”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee’s Facebook page was soon flooded with angry rants from those who weren’t able to buy tickets.

Some called for the PIC to hold an additional ball or void the sales and start over. Others claimed the onsale was rigged so friends or scalpers could score tickets.

A Ticketmaster spokeswoman told the Post that although the tickets were released earlier than intended, the process was still administered fairly.

“We understand the disappointment people feel if they were unable to obtain tickets, but like all other popular events, demand was much greater than supply,” she said.

Photo: Ron Edmonds, File/AP
Crowd on the National Mall in Washington for the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama.

At press time, the PIC had yet to officially address the issue.