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Fans receive memorial ticket notices

July 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Well over 1 million people were checking and double-checking their e-mail boxes Sunday as notices were sent out to people selected to receive tickets to Michael Jackson's public memorial at Staples Center.Officials for AEG Live, which owns Staples Center, said more than 1.6 million people registered online for tickets. Only 8,750 entrants will be selected to receive two tickets each. The odds of getting a ticket were about 1 in 183.

The tickets will admit 11,000 people to the Staples Center plus 6,500 in the Nokia Theater overflow section next door. E-mail notices were sent out from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. At about 4 p.m. people started jumping on online announcing that they had received an e-mail.

"I'm in shock that it has happened," said Deka Motanya, 27, of San Francisco. "It's surreal." She received an e-mail message at 4:35 p.m. notifying her, "Congratulations, your application was successful."

She immediately Tweeted: "OMG OMG OMG OMG i got tickets to the michael jackson memorial service!!!"

For the other 1,591,250 registrants who will not receive tickets, city officials are urging them and everyone else to stay home and watch the memorial service live on TV or online, and not gather outside the arena.

Police officials say there will be what they call a hard closure around Staples Center on Tuesday. If visitors don't have a ticket, they won't even be allowed into the immediate area.

Officials said those steps are being taken to prevent ticket-scalping.

City Councilwoman Jan 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.

Jackson's family said they were also planning a private ceremony at the Forest Lawn cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. The family did not announce a date for the ceremony.

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