Tickets for former first ladys London talk on sale for hundreds of times face value on secondary ticketing site
Minutes after the phone lines opened for seats at a talk by the former first lady, Viagogo – based in Switzerland – was already offering seats for more than 570 times face value.
While the Southbank Centre has set a price for the event of between £30 and £125, the most expensive ticket listed on Viagogo at time of writing was £72,181 for a box seat.
Sellers, likely to include professional touts, appear to have got hold of them via the Southbank Centres ticketing system, despite competition from more than 50,000 genuine fans.
"Tickets will only be available to collect on the night and ticket holders for this event will be required to bring a form of identification."
Michelle Obama Royal Festival Hall speech tickets sold for over £7,000
A spokeswoman for the 2,700-capacity venue said it had asked Viagogo to remove the tickets from sale, although the website had not done so by 12.45pm on Thursday.
Tickets to see Michelle Obama speak in London have been offered for re-sale online for hundreds of times their face value after rapidly selling out.
Tickets to see Michelle Obama at sold out Southbank Centre event advertised for thousands of pounds
We are aware that a small number of tickets to this event have appeared on third-party resale sites, the spokesperson said. We take secondary ticketing very seriously and aim to discourage this by stipulating that tickets should not be resold for profit or commercial gain.
If we find tickets on sale without our authorisation by any unauthorised third parties they are identified and cancelled.
We are aware that a small number of tickets to this event have appeared on third-party resale sites. We take secondary ticketing very seriously and aim to discourage this by stipulating that tickets should not be resold for profit or commercial gain. If we find tickets on sale without our authorisation by any unauthorised third parties they are identified and cancelled. Tickets will only be available to collect on the night and ticket holders for this event will be required to bring a form of identification.
She added: Tickets will only be available to collect on the night and ticket holders for this event will be required to bring a form of identification.
The tickets have now been taken down, but its unclear if anyone was able to buy them while they were still up for grabs. Would it have been worth it to pay $70k to hear Michelle, with “honesty and lively wit,” speak for maybe an hour, “candidly recounting moments from her own extraordinary journey” and inspiring people “to become the very best version of themselves”?
Comedian Ros Ballinger, who failed to get tickets for the event, said: I think its particular egregious for certain gigs or events. To make enormous profits off someone whos inspirational to people historically oppressed and dedicated to public service is horribly ironic.
Buyers were asked to join a waiting room at 8am, before being allocated a random place in a queue when tickets officially went on sale at 10am. Anyone searching for Michelle Obama tickets would have found Viagogo at the top of Google search rankings. The internet giant has previously come under pressure to stop accepting money from Viagogo to appear at the top of search results.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Screenshot of tickets on Viagogo for Michelle Obamas talk. Photograph: Viagogo Only one ticket is listed at the extraordinary price of more than £70,000 and there is no certainty that sellers using Viagogo, which typically takes a cut of up to 25% of the price, will manage to find a buyer.
But at least 19 more are listed for between £2,000 and £7,500, indicating that sellers believe fans of Obama will be prepared to pay thousands to see her speak.
Hi @southbankcentre . Please can you livestream “BeComing” with Michelle Obama and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Dec 3 – so many of us want to see it – in the UK and around the world . 🙏🏾
Facebook Twitter Pinterest The front cover of Becoming Photograph: AP The event involves Obama talking about her highly anticipated new memoir, Becoming, with the acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Fucking hell. Tickets to Michelle Obama in conversation with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are already on Viagogo for £2-6k each. pic.twitter.com/OcRu5pUJbW
The Southbank Centre website says: Reflecting on her memoir, Michelle Obama invites the audience […] into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her – from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive, balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the worlds most famous address.
The swift appearance of tickets on Viagogo, frequently used by professional touts who harvest tickets for resale at the expense of genuine fans, could reignite the public outcry about the so-called secondary ticketing industry.
The industry, and Viagogo in particular, has faced criticism from MPs and campaigners amid concern that fans are being ripped off or buying tickets for gigs and events that will lead to them being turned away at the door.
We have asked Viagogo to remove the tickets available on their site. Tickets bought from unauthorised third parties will be cancelled and invalid for entry. 1/2— Southbank Centre (@southbankcentre) November 8, 2018
Viagogo is currently subject to legal proceedings brought by the UKs consumer watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, for alleged breaches of consumer law.
We're currently experiencing extremely high levels of demand for Michelle Obama tickets both online and on our phone lines. Your patience is appreciated.— Southbank Centre (@southbankcentre) November 7, 2018
The company said it was only a platform for resale and did not set prices. It did not respond when asked whether it would comply with the Southbank Centres request to remove the tickets.
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