Oops: Ticketmaster Mixup Sells Out Obama Inaugural Ball Early

Jan 7, 2013 4:18pm

WASHINGTON – After an inadvertent early sale of tickets to events surrounding President Obama’s second inauguration, some of the celebration festivities sold out even before they were supposed to go on sale.

Public sales for the inaugural ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the day’s parade were scheduled to be released this morning on Ticketmaster. But in an email to waiting buyers released by the vendor today, Ticketmaster admitted that sales inadvertently went up Sunday, a day early.

The mixup occurred when an email alert system for hopeful buyers misfired, directing recipients to Ticketmaster’s sales site to complete their purchase.

A representative for Ticketmaster said the company was contractually bound not to discuss specifics of sales by its client, the President’s Inaugural Committee. In a written statement the company said regardless of the timing error, tickets were always sold “on a first come first serve basis.”

“While an e-mail 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. Everyone who purchased tickets for the Inaugural Ball and the Inaugural parade will receive their tickets,” it reads.

“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,” the statement reads. “Ticketmaster and PIC will continue to work closely to ensure everyone receives the latest ticketing information.”

The end result was a massive rush on the tickets, completely selling out at least one event — the inaugural ball — before it’s intended sale time.

In a written statement the inaugural committee said Ticketmaster “has taken responsibility” for the mistake, and that a “significant number” of sales still occurred for additional tickets Monday evening.

Regardless, on Twitter today a former technology officer of President Obama’s reelection campaign lamented his own past experiences with the company; Harper Reed said it “could be one of the worst websites I have ever used.”

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