Fans of Michael Jackson will have one last chance to say goodbye to the departed pop star on Tuesday with a televised celebratory memorial service at LA's Staples Center, simulcast at the nearby Nokia Theater.
Representatives of the Jackson family, the company promoting his final tour, and the City of Los Angeles released very few details about the event at a Friday morning press conference outside the Staples Center.
"Everything to do with the memorial is about including as many fans as possible," said family spokesperson Ken Sunshine. An energetic crowd of 300 Jackson fans rallied across the street from the podium, screaming for more volume on the microphones.
With the dream of a Neverland memorial service gone, event planners announced that tickets would be available to the public via a lottery system. Tim Leiweke, CEO and president of Staples Center owner AEG, which had been planning Jackson's final tour, laid out the process for distributing the 17,500 tickets, for which there will be no charge. From Friday at 10:00 a.m. to Saturday at 6:00 p.m., people can register on the Staples Center website. Of this pool, 8,750 names will be randomly selected and given two tickets and two wristbands each.
While 11,000 seats are available at the Staples Center, a further 6,500 seats are slotted for the Nokia Theater located across the street, where the ceremony will be shown on three large screens in a simulcast. Between 11:00 am and 8:00 pm on Sunday, those chosen will be notified and given a code number which they can redeem through Ticketmaster.
For the many fans unable to gain access to the event, the Jackson family has made arrangements for a world-wide TV feed to be broadcast free of charge. Signs of the crush for tickets were quickly apparent when the server for the Staples Center website crashed within minutes of the announcement under the weight of the massive volume of requests.