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Parade Tickets Sell Out in Minutes

5,000 tickets for the bleacher seats for the inaugural parade went onsale at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today and, according to reports, sold out within minutes. Or less than a minute. Here are some of the comments on our blog from those who tried to get tickets:

I just tried to get a parade ticket and it said no tickets found. Posted by: wendykroy1 | January 9, 2009 1:09 PM |
yeah and ticketmaster was sold out of parade tickets literally one minute after the on sale time. ticketmaster is lousy-there's always the ones who get to the 'front of the line' when it comes to this stuff, then resell them on ticketmaster's ticketnow.com site for astronomical prices. Posted by: kasalexis | January 9, 2009 1:12 PM |
No luck on the parade tickets. Posted by: wp11234 | January 9, 2009 1:14 PM |
I got on the ticketmaster site at 12:30...kept refreshing until 1pm...I had placed my order for 4 tickets and typed in the two secret words within 20 seconds...no luck...all sold out...what a joke. Posted by: rparker543 | January 9, 2009 1:28 PM |
I agree. Ten minutes after parade tix went on sale there were people selling them on craiglist for hundreds of dollars. It would have been nice for the PIC to figure out a way give people tickets who actually wanted to use them, and not try to make a buck. Sigh. Posted by: kels78 | January 9, 2009 1:35 PM |

By David A Nakamura  |  January 9, 2009; 2:23 PM ET  | Category:  Parade , Tickets
Previous: Officials: Swearing-in Tickets to Congressional Offices on Monday | Next: Pop Quiz: Inauguration Math

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I figured it took 15 minutes for them to sell out, because that's how long it took me to get someone on the line after being unable to get through on the website. There is just NO WAY for regular people to see any of these events because even if we want to pay the fair prices and do everything fairly, ticket sellers purchase en masse by locking up the phone numbers and the internet. I thought that these events were supposed to be about the people who wanted to see change, as opposed to those who could take advantage of capitalism at its most abysmal :(

Posted by: originalcutie | January 9, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, I am a "regular" person. I logged in at about 12:45. At about 12:58, I kept refreshing. Right at 1, I got through. I got 4 tickets. $117 with all the service charges. And, yes, I'm going to use them.

Posted by: BrentwoodGuy | January 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I am a regular Texas girl and I was able to buy 1 ticket only at 1:04 p.m. The system wouldn't allow me to purchase more than that - probably was about to sell out!

Posted by: tiffany_white807 | January 9, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see at least one regular guy did. I did the refreshing thing too, and got the CAPTCHAs, but was immediately told (after Ticketmaster "held my place in line" ... as if) that they were all gone.

Posted by: wp11234 | January 9, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a regular guy and did what the other reg guy did. Got 4 too and am using them :)

Posted by: mallard1 | January 9, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I had like 4 screens open and I keep going back and trying and trying again and guess what.....


I meant to get 2 but I got 3. I am selling the thrid one on EBAY to the highest bidder :)

Posted by: zaria25 | January 9, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

5,000 tickets available to the tens of thousands of computers trying to get through... what do you expect?

for the record, my boyfriend and my friend each got 4 tickets at approx 1:00:37 (making up the second mark, but you get the drift). I tried around the same time and got nothing. Happily, 8 tickets is all we need for us and our respective house guests.

Yes some people will scalp, but I suspect many of the tickets went quickly to people like us.

Posted by: JennX_ | January 9, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

My whole office here @ AU, tried from 12:50 til 1:05, no luck whatsoever. WTF Tickemaster? Im starting to think some people had presale codes like usual.

Posted by: DCnative1983 | January 9, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

hey zaria25, please tell me you have more than 1 friend! Don't be a hoser, give the ticket to a friend for purchase price. The way you are behaving, it's really no surprise you only have one friend (or can only find one person willing to use you for a ticket to the parade.)

Yeah, scalpers are a problem. What can you do, print purchaser info on the tickets and require ID at the parade site? Seems all you can do is count on peoples sense of civic responsibility. Oh well.

Posted by: ptindall23 | January 9, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I also got tickets by logging on before 1 pm and refreshing the screen all the time -- we've been planning to go the inauguration for months and are very happy to get bleacher tickets -- we had signed up for tickets to the inauguration event through our Rep. but no luck there.

I'm sure some people will resell for profit -- I'd suggest sending 100s of emails to the people trying to sell for $1000 -- just overwhelm their email to let them know how big of losers they are-- offer them $35 for the ticket to cover the ticket charges.

Posted by: hermanSF | January 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I was able to get 3 tickets through Ticketmasters site. I logged on before 1 pm, kept refreshing - then kept on submitting my order. It took about 14 minutes to be able to order them. And yes, we're using them ourselves. We're driving in from Michigan.

Posted by: glmi15 | January 9, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Unless you are sitting posed like a vulture over your computer day and night, there's no chance. I did not see the announcement sent by the PIC until it had been up all of 15 minutes. By then all the tickets were gone. Even if you had 5 computers and an employee devoted to doing this full time, it would not help. I am happy for those few that got through, but there has to be a better way.

So many people worked for Obama that this is the downside---we all want to come and see, and there isn't room for us all. The more internet-savvy will win out--it's a Darwinian struggle.

Posted by: Persephone1 | January 9, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I used the same strategy I used to get my Police tickets on ticketmaster last year. Sign in at 12:50 and around 12:58 keep refreshing every 30 seconds or so. The sales box came up and WHAM! I got my 2 tickets. My friend was SO surprised to hear that one of them is for her :)

So, they did go to "regular people"

Posted by: powell2 | January 9, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

It's 4 o'clock, guess I missed out. For those that got tickets, have a great time.

Posted by: CaptainJohn2525 | January 9, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

They were sold out in less than a minute. For future reference, ticketmaster.com people, NEVER actually refresh the ticket page when trying to snipe tickets. Ticketmaster.com will actually check your cookie when you refresh, meaning the page will take a very long time to load.

Instead, you just need to be ready with the exact search term that provides the result you need. New searches take 1/10 of the time a refresh takes. When the time comes, click "search," click "Find tickets" immediately, speed through the CAPTCHA, and the tickets should then be reserved.

I was following the US EST Naval Atomic Clock so I'd be right on time, used the search method, and STILL missed out. I clicked through, and managed to hit "Find Tickets" at exactly 1:00:03PM EST, and the tickets were gone. In other words, these 5000 Inaugural Parade tickets were sold out in 3 seconds (or less).

Posted by: seanherman | January 9, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's a good explanation of the ticketmaster.com popular show purchase method. It didn't work in this case.

I suspect more seasoned ticketmaster.com ticket snipers grabbed just about all the tickets in this case. The real pros would likely be running scripts and multiple sessions through proxies to dramatically increase their chances and snapping up four tickets.

Considering the obvious problem with using ticketmaster.com, I'm not entirely sure why these tickets weren't sold by lottery. That's really the only way to keep the tickets out of the hands of scalpers.


Posted by: seanherman | January 9, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

persephone1: The announcement of this was in the dead-tree edition of this morning's Post... page B3. So much for it being a matter of internet savvy-ness.

I'll say it again... there were only 5,000 tickets and thousands of people trying to get through. I don't see anything wrong with the way this was run. I didn't expect I'd get tickets, and was happily surprised that others in my circle did. The odds were certainly against us.

Posted by: JennX_ | January 9, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I refreshed and refreshed like others did, and probably got through the anti-bot security thing at about 1:00:30. They were already gone.

I hope the PIC comes out with a lot more information and soon. It has been very frustrating trying to plan this visit and not know how to get tickets to events, where or when events and activities are, what people without tickets will be able to do, etc. So far, it looks like we will be going to the Mall to view the swearing in, and then what? We don't have tickets to the parade, and will probably not be able to get a spot to view it from the sidewalk.

Posted by: taritac | January 9, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Lots of apparent offers on craigslist:


Posted by: wp11234 | January 9, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked that any 'real' people were able to get them, even using the tactics we've all described. I not only did the pre-1:00-refresh tactic with two different browsers, but had speed-dial for all three of the numbers listed and started calling right before 1:00 (until well after). I tried requesting the 4 tickets I needed online, as well as smaller quantities. Nothing!
Maybe a few honest people are using them, but how can they allow those websites to start selling tickets for hundreds of dollars before they've even gone on sale on Ticketmaster. It is very clear that they intended to jam the lines and buy up all of the tickets. If they hadn't been confident of that, they couldn't have started selling what they didn't yet have.

Posted by: DTW8 | January 9, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The PIC is sure trying its hardest not to tell people anything of value. Organize an event in your community! Check out these kids who won an essay contest! Buy a t-shirt! Donate! Admire "our commitment to holding the most open and accessible Inauguration in history!" But nothing, NOTHING, about how to actually show up to the thing.

Not to worry, it's fairly obvious where and when the event will be. But the attitude of the PIC is quite different from what we had come to expect from the Obama people.

Posted by: wp11234 | January 9, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Count me as another regular person who got a ticket that I'll be using. It's not a conspiracy theory, it's just high demand and low supply.

Posted by: dkp01 | January 9, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Just like the vast majority of you, I was using the same method of multiple browsers poised on Ticketmaster several minutes before 1 pm. Kept refreshing and trying for over an hour. Nothing.

Honestly, I'm not one give to conspiracy theories, but something just doesn't "seem right" about this whole fiasco. My guess is that this whole inclusiveness shtick by the PIC was a ruse and there were far fewer than 5,000 tickets actually available.

Doesn't bode well for "change", does it?

Posted by: LuigiNWDC | January 9, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I am a regular person who got 3 tickets for the event.

I'm also a person who has used Ticketmaster many times over the years for extremely popular events that sell out very quickly. I know what it feels like to get tickets and I know what it feels like to walk away empty handed.

I can ONLY imagine just how many people were trying to get 5,000 tickets. This is an event of unprecedented proportions. Every single department, agency, office is trying to do everything that is humanly possible to make this event we all can enjoy and we can all be SAFE at.

I just think that this is a case where no matter what anyone tries to do, people are going to be upset. It is simply impossible to please everyone.

Posted by: Grace33 | January 9, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I was one of those "regular" people who was able to get four tickets. I had logged on to Ticketmaster at about 12:50 and when it was just about 1, I hit refresh and was able to order. I knew from buying in the past not to do anything but enter the info that was asked as soon as the page came up.

I do think having an account with Ticketmaster helps only because it saves time when you checkout since all of your information is there.

Posted by: agent_squirrel | January 9, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Suckers! All you sad people who are going to see Michelle Shaniqua Obama in sub-freezing temperatures. I am sure she will be in full ghetto mode.

Posted by: Diannne721 | January 9, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Diannna721 don't be rude. :)

Posted by: mallard1 | January 9, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Diannna721, just as McCain said, Barack Obama is now YOUR president. Michelle Obama is your first lady. Accept it, embrace it, get over it. You are just showing how racist and ignorant you are. Don't be like the dinosaur and become extinct. The majority of the United States has spoken, and your kind is dying out. Good luck in the colorful future. Maybe you will live to see an Asian, Hispanic, or Native American president as well!

As for the tickets, I went on at 1 p.m. and couldn't get anything at first. I went back a few times and finally got 3 tickets. I think it was because someone didn't buy their tickets within the time limit.

Posted by: annwatt | January 9, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I would love to know who received the 5,000 tickets and how many will be turned over on Ebay and Craigslist. I was on from 1pm on and got nothing. It seemed like another ticket scam to me.

Posted by: PaulCostello | January 9, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Dianna, you have ranted about Michelle for a long time now. It seems your problem is not so much with Obama as it is with Michelle.
What did she ever do to you???
Get over yourself.

Posted by: vwcat | January 9, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Also, if anyone needs housing near the Capitol, a friend of mine is renting out two of his row houses. The links to the Craigslist ads are: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/sub/986782901.html and http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/sub/986787121.html . Good luck!

Posted by: annwatt | January 9, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

In defense of myself and response to the person who mentioned that the PIC announcement was in the dead tree (paper) edition of the Washington Post earlier, since I live in Wisconsin I don't get that edition and have to make do with cyber versions. However, the advantage of living in Wisconsin is that with lower demand I was able to get swearing in tickets from my Rep. Can't have everything, and I hope most of the tickets indeed went to 'regular people.'

Posted by: Persephone1 | January 9, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Regular gal here!!

I went on ticketmaster about 12:40pm, filled out the profile with credit card info, and opened the 4 windows. I kept the 4 windows open, with a hard line and cell phone pre-programmed with the numbers on speed-dial.

I started calling and refreshing the windows at about 12:55pm. I wanted to get 4 for anyone who wasn't able (I have a special place in my heart for folks who don't have computers. And I definitely would have sold them just for costs.)

But I could only get one ticket! But that's okay, too 'cause all I needed was one. I FEEL LIKE A KID IN A CANDY STORE!!!

Posted by: isonprize | January 9, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

No big mystery here folks. There were very few tickets for the most important event of our time, there is no wonder that they were gone in a NY minute.

I tried, I didn't get any tickets but I am still going from San Francisco to DC to see what I can see. I don't mind and I don't feel slighted I am just happy that Obama won and we can have our country back.

Posted by: cantrec | January 9, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

This situation is shocking, especially since change is supposed to be coming to Washington. I've checked with Kim Il Son, CEO, National Capital Outdoor Merchants Association. He says member vendors have tickets available at the exclusive Inaugural price of $75 each (plus tax). They'll be on the DC streets tomorrow and until all tickets are gone at this special low price. All ticket purchasers are eligible for hot dogs at the special discounted price of $2.50 each (plus tax).

Posted by: HassanAliAl-Hadoodi | January 9, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I know math is hard, people, but for those who claim it was a conspiracy, I suspect you start with some division:

5000 tickets divided by 4 any one person can request = 1250 sets of tickets.

1250 sets of tickets divided by 50 states, as there is nation-wide interest in this event, and ticketmaster can be accessed from everywhere = 25 sets of tickets PER STATE.

Assume D.C. is one of the 50 states (give it the tickets nobody in Alaska wants), and divide its 25 sets by the four quadrants of the city = 6.25 sets for Northwest, 6.25 sets for Northeast, 6.25 sets for Southeast, 6.25 sets for Southwest.

Or Assume Virginia, which has 100 counties -- with 25 sets of tickets, only one person in every fourth county will get a set of tickets.

Even the English majors among you should see the point -- yes it seems unfair, particularly if you wanted tickets but didn't get them, but when hundreds of thousands of people want 5,000 tickets, and can order then 4 at a time, they will go in moments.

As for the eBay or Craigslist posts, add up exactly how many tickets are actually there. If you assume only 10% of tickets went to people with a profit motive, that will still be 500 tickets up for sale. That will look like a ton when you scan the listings, but still means that 90% of tickets went to "real" people at face value. The remaining 10% of the tickets will be re-sold to the highest bidder, going for whatever the free market will bear. It is basic capitalism in action.

In short, the system stinks, but it also works.

Posted by: wahoo2x | January 10, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

I managed to get tickets, but now I cannot use them. Available here and up for auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=330301031728

Posted by: JLilly1 | January 15, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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