Page last updated at 02:34 GMT, Saturday, 10 January 2009

Obama tickets 'sell in a minute'

Barack Obama
Obama already faces an economic crisis and foreign policy challenges

Reserved seats for the US presidential inauguration parade have sold out within one minute of being put on sale, the ticket company has said.

More than 90% of the 5,000 seats available along the parade route in Washington were sold online.

The tickets cost $25 (16) each - but some went on to reappear on internet sites at much higher prices.

Two million people are expected to crowd the National Mall as Barack Obama takes the oath of office on 20 January.

Most of the seats for the swearing-in ceremony are set aside for lawmakers, VIPs and diplomats.

The tickets that went on sale on Friday were for stands that line the route Mr Obama and his vice-president, Joe Biden, will take between the US Capitol and the White House.

Sales began at 1300 (1800 GMT) and went "blazingly fast", Albert Lopez, a spokesman for sales company Ticketmaster, said.

Linda Douglass, the chief spokeswoman for the inaugural committee, said the selling time was startling.

Workers build the inauguration stand on 7 November 2008
Work is already well underway for the event, set to draw huge crowds

"You just have to assume there must have been people sitting there at their computers ready to go when the clock struck one," she said.

Inauguration officials strongly disapproved of anyone seeking to profit from the sale of the ticket, she said - as tickets appeared at 10 times their original price on auction site eBay.

The committee says it wants to make Barack Obama's inauguration one of the most accessible in US history.

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