A fan cheers after picking up tickets to Michael Jackson’s memorial at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles on Tuesday. — PHOTO: REUTERS
LOS ANGELES – THOUSANDS of Michael Jackson devotees scrambled to collect tickets to the pop icon’s memorial Monday after beating odds of 183-1 to earn a ringside seat at the send-off.
Out of 1.6 million people who took part in an online auction, just 8,750 pairs of tickets were allotted to fans desperate to bid farewell to the tragic King of Pop on Tuesday.
The lucky few who were successful flocked to Los Angeles Dodgers Stadium to collect wristbands and tickets from organizers as the final countdown to the service at the Staples Centre began.
‘I never expected this to happen. To be here, there’s no words,’ said 18-year-old university-bound Kevin Alcantar, who was sharing one of his two tickets with his unemployed mother.
Jeff Burt meanwhile was taking his 13-year-old daughter to the service after being notified by email on Sunday that his application had been successful. Mr Burt told reporters he had planned on watching the event from his office block in downtown Los Angeles several blocks from the Staples Centre.
‘I was planning on watching it with binoculars, so I was very pleased and surprised when I won,’ Mr Burt said. ‘It’s good father-daughter bonding.’
Meanwhile, Ryan Reichenfeld, 23, said he had received two contradictory emails – one saying he won two tickets one saying he did not.
‘But I got the tickets so I figured it wasn’t a mistake,’ he said, saying his win was like winning one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets in the popular children’s book Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. ‘It’s the same exact thing – maybe even the same odds!’ Mr Reichenfeld said.
Kat Widden meanwhile said she believed she had more chance of ‘being hit by lightning’ than winning a ticket. Now she planned on taking her boyfriend to the event and said there was no chance of her cashing in on her tickets. ‘Even if I couldn’t go I wouldn’t sell them,’ she told reporters.
Fans from overseas were also among those rushing to get tickets. Italian Noemi Bertoguo, 30, a traffic warden from Turin, said she had flown to Los Angeles immediately after Jackson’s death. ‘I have listened to Michael Jackson since I was a little girl,’ she said. — AFP