Michael Jackson's public memorial will be held Tuesday, July 7th at 10:00 a.m. at Los Angeles' Staples Center, the sight of the superstar's final rehearsals for his This Is It! run of London concerts. A family spokesman told the Los Angeles Times yesterday that 11,000 tickets will be passed out for the free event and a press conference hosted by concert promoter AEG today confirmed how those tickets will be distributed.
Fans interested in attending the Jackson memorial can log on to StaplesCenter.com today through 6 p.m. PT Saturday. 17,500 tickets total will be made available: 11,000 for entrance to the Staples Center and 6,500 for neighboring Nokia Theatre, which will simulcast the memorial on three screens. 8,750 registered fans will be selected at random and receive two tickets apiece; they will receive a Ticketmaster code on Sunday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. that will allow them to pick up tickets and wristbands on Monday at an undisclosed location. No tickets will be physically distributed at the Staples Center or Nokia Theatre. "It was our wish to allow as many of Michael's fans to be part of the memorial, and we wish to thank everyone for their support and understanding at this difficult time," Jackson Family said in a statement.
Questions over who will foot the bill for the memorial and its associated costs — particularly police deployment — remain partially unanswered as of today. "There's no precedent for this," Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is stepping in as mayor for a vacationing Antonio Villaraigosa, told the L.A. Times. At the press conference today, Perry said the event had "the potential to impact public safety" and urged fans to watch the memorial on television; a pool feed will provide footage to all the major networks and a Webcast will also be available. All tickets to the event are free, and AEG's Tim Lieweke discouraged scalping: "Those who would take advantage of this, shame on them." At 11:30 a.m. PT today, the Staples Center site had received 500,000,000 hits, forcing an additional server to be added to handle the registration demand.
No details about the memorial service itself — who will perform or attend — have been released. Original plans to hold Jackson's memorial and burial at Neverland Ranch were abandoned for legal and logistical reasons. Read more about the potential futures for Neverland here.
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