Tickets for the swearing-in ceremony of Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States ,on January 20, are being advertised for thousands of dollars, although the tickets are not publicly available.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that the tickets will be released to the public in the week before the ceremony, being advertised for sale on the online auction site eBay and other websites., even if they meant to be free.
The starting bid on Ebay is $10,000, on stubhub.com and stagefront.com the price is about $1,400-$2,350.
Organizers say that there is an unexpected enthusiasm for the ceremony itself . There will also take place various balls and parties during the season.
"This is an event that has been paid for by Congressional appropriation. It is wrong to turn around and sell those tickets. We believe it violates the spirit and intent of the inauguration," Carole Florman, the committee’s communications director, told Reuters.
‘This inauguration will be the major civic event of our time, and these tickets are supposed to be free for the people. Nobody should have to pay for their tickets," Feinstein said.
‘This is America. If somebody does have a ticket and wants to sell it why should they be restricted? We are not talking about guns or illicit drugs," -said Danny Matta, owner of online ticket broker greatseats.com
Economists are predicting that the United States will be in deep recession by the time Obama takes office. But businesses and would-be entrepreneurs are hoping to make money — a lot of money — from record crowds expected in the city.
"We’re going to see a jump in tourism at a time when the economy is going south," said Bill Hanbury, the city’s tourism chief, whose staff has been handling 200-300 calls per day.
"Here we are a week after the election and the city is largely booked. That is highly unusual," said Durso, whose association has 96 hotels with 26,000 rooms.