Tickets to see Pope Francis speak on Independence Mall at the end of the month were snapped up within two minutes, organizers from the World Meeting of Families said Tuesday.
Tickets to the event — about 10,000 — of them, were offered online at noon. About 394,000 unique visitors had accessed the site.
Minutes after the tickets were gone, scalpers on ebay were already offering them for hundreds of dollars apiece — one set of four was going for $1,000.
The tickets were free, and limited to 4 per person requesting them. The seller on Ebay was offering 10.
At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters that the profiteering was “just wrong.”
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that organizers had tried to make sure that a large number of tickets didn’t go to any one individual.
“That being said, we live in a free-market economy and just as we cannot control the rates at which individuals rented their homes to pilgrims, we also cannot control whether or not they decide to sell these tickets,” church spokesman Ken Gavin said. “Any sale of tickets for Papal events is not sanctioned or authorized by either the World Meeting of Families or the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
The pope is expected to deliver an address about immigration on on the mall, an address made all the more important by migrant crisis in Europe and ongoing debate over U.S. immigration among members of the GOP presidential candidates.
Organizers said they will also make 10,000 tickets available on Wednesday to see a papal mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sunday of the visit. While tickets are not required to see the papal mass on the parkway, ticketed visitors will be given access to areas closer to where the pope will celebrate the mass. Other attendees will be able to see the pope travel by motorcade and will be able to see the mass via one of several jumbotrons set up around the parkway.
A link to get the tickets — on a first come, first-served bases — were available at www.worldmeeting2015.org/tickets at noon.