LOS ANGELES — More than 1.6 million fans registered for tickets to Michael Jackson’s memorial service over the two-day registration period that ended Saturday.
Only 11,000 tickets will be given out for the Tuesday service at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Another 6,500 tickets will be given away for the Nokia Theater overflow section next door.
Fans had to register for free at staplescenter.com between 10 a.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday for the random drawing of 8,750 names. Each person selected will receive two tickets and will be notified by email after 11 a.m. today.
Before the drawing, officials at AEG, the owner and operator of the Staples Center, will “scrub” the entries to eliminate duplicates and any suspected of being made by automated systems or “go-bots,” said Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine in a statement.
Winners will receive a unique code and instructions on how to pick up their tickets at an off-site distribution center on Monday. At the distribution center, they will receive the ticket and a wristband that will be placed on their wrists at that time.
Fans must have both the ticket and the wristband to enter Staples Center on Tuesday. Sunshine said those steps are being taken to prevent ticket-scalping.
City officials are preparing for massive crowds. Assistant Police Chief Earl Paysinger said anywhere from a quarter-million to 700,000 people may try to reach the arena, even though a wide area around Staples Center will be sealed off to those without tickets.
City Councilwoman Jan Perry strongly urged people to stay home and watch the memorial on TV. The ceremony will not be shown on Staples’ giant outdoor TV screen and there will be no funeral procession through the city.
Several TV channels intend to carry the memorial live.
No details were given about the actual memorial events, which come as the nation’s second-largest city struggles with a $530 million budget deficit. Perry said the cost of police protection for “extraordinary” events like the memorial is built into the Police Department’s budget, but she still solicited help for “incremental costs.”
Last month, donations covered about $850,000 of the city’s $1 million cost for the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA championship parade. Critics had blasted the idea of using city money when it is considering layoffs to close its budget gap.