WASHINGTON -- This snafu may not rise to the level of a Purple Tunnel of Doom, but President Obama's second Inauguration has experienced one big hiccup two weeks before the ceremony.
Ticketmaster sent an apology email on Monday after "inadvertently" sending out a link to buy tickets to 2013 Inauguration events -- like the official inaugural ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center -- on Sunday night, a day ahead of schedule.
In the email, Ticketmaster said that "a significant number of public tickets were purchased" on Sunday night, though tickets were not scheduled to go on sale until Monday. The inaugural website indicates that ticketing is now closed for the ball, being held the evening of Jan. 21.
DCist notes that at least one enterprising Craigslist seller is capitalizing on the Ticketmaster mistake, selling a pair of tickets to the official ball for $250 apiece.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee sent WTOP-FM a statement about the mistake:
On Sunday evening, Ticketmaster experienced a technical error that inadvertently caused an email to go out ahead of schedule to people who had signed up for Inaugural ticketing information with an invitation to purchase public tickets for The Inaugural Ball and the Inaugural Parade. The Ticketmaster website was overwhelmed, slowing the purchasing process. Ticketmaster has taken responsibility for this mistake.
However, a significant number of public tickets to both The Inaugural Ball and the Inaugural Parade were purchased this evening, despite the early email. This is consistent with the Presidential Inaugural Committee's announcement that a limited number of public tickets would be available on a first come, first-served basis. Ticketmaster will be in touch with additional information on ticket sales.
The complete text of Ticketmaster's apology follows below the slideshow of people celebrating after they were able to secure tickets:
During testing of our email system tonight, you may have inadvertently received an invitation to purchase tickets for 2013 Inauguration events, including the Inaugural Ball or the Inaugural Parade.
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.
However, a significant number of public tickets were purchased this evening, despite the early email. Ticketmaster will be in touch with any additional information.
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.
UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: On Monday, a petition on the White House's "We The People" website asked for a another inaugural ball, reports the Washington City Paper:
Jilted ballgoers -- all five of them who have signed the petition so far -- want a second inaugural ball to be organized so they can try to buy tickets again. That may seem like a bizarre request to you, given that the inauguration is two weeks away and is not usually organized around the grievances of foiled partygoers.
Then again, you don't know the unique pain of missing out on $60 ball tickets. "Many were left in a dust of confusion and frustration as neither Ticketmaster nor the Presidential Inaugural Committee made right on their promise—or even issue a real apology," the petition reads.
These hopes also appear dashed. By Monday afternoon, the petition had been removed from the website; a notice said it was taken down "under our Moderation Policy because it is in violation of our Terms of Participation."
CLARIFICATION, 3:55 p.m.: An earlier version of this story noted a tweet about the ticketing mishap that seemed critical of Obama. The author of that tweet emailed to clarify that his tweet was a joke.
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Still want to dress up on or around Jan. 21? Check out this slideshow of official state balls: