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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Scalping Michael Jackson Memorial Tickets

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scalping Michael Jackson Memorial Tickets

Bridget Daly of Hollyscoop, writes in "Jackson Memorial Tickets Selling for Thousands on eBay," July 6, 2009 that,

The tickets to Michael Jackson’s Los Angeles memorial tomorrow are free, and were never up for sale. The only problem is that only 8,750 of them were given out, and 1.6 million people registered for them.
That’s left a lot of people upset that they weren’t picked. But they could spend upwards of $15,000 on tickets if they really wanted to go!

Some fans that were lucky enough to get their names drawn have now put the tickets to the memorial up on eBay. They’re looking to make a quick buck off of the tickets they never even bought, knowing that there’s probably a huge Michael Jackson fan who will spend the thousands they’re asking for.

They’d better act fast however, because eBay claims they’ll be taking the listings down. A rep for the company said, "Any tickets for the memorial service will be taken down.”

But Staples Center spokesman Michael Roth said today that ticket scalping was completely out of their control. He said, "Theoretically, the second wristband can be sold.”

Click here to see all of the eBay listings. How much would you pay for Michael Jackson memorial tickets?

Economists generally don't have a problem with scalping tickets (see Mankiw, "Principles of Microeconomics, Fifth edition," page 151 or Russell Roberts, "Ticket Prices and Scalping"). The person who places the highest value on the ticket gets it. For a reason unspecified by the article eBay will attempt to eliminate scalping of the memorial tickets despite the vendors stoicism. Jackson's heirs, who do not want to profit from the event, might have auctioned tickets on eBay and given the proceeds to Jackson's favorite charity.

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