Scalpers turn papal tickets for profit

2015-09-24 14:23
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Philadelphia - The rosary beads cost $175. Sounds a bit pricey, except the Craigslist ad says it comes with tickets to see Pope Francis. Same with the $10 train passes marked up to $85 in another listing.

With the wildly popular pontiff's US tour shifting to New York on Thursday night and Philadelphia for the weekend, ticket scalpers are getting creative to make sure their listings don't get deleted or lost among dozens of ticket offers pouring in daily.

The same tickets that papal visit organisers doled out free of charge through parishes and online giveaways weeks ago are available on the online gray market with hefty price tags.

Want a chance to see Pope Francis roll through New York's Central Park on Friday? That'll be $100. Or maybe you want to see him on stage alongside Mark Wahlberg, Aretha Franklin and Sister Sledge. Tickets to the Festival of Families in Philadelphia on Saturday are going for as low as $25.

Religious freedom

On Craigslist, one listing for tickets to see the pope in Central Park appeared below one for pop star Ariana Grande's concert the next night in Brooklyn.

Church and civic leaders denounced the sales and asked websites to remove the listings. The auction site eBay has complied, saying the sales violated its terms of service. Posts have continued to appear on Craigslist.

"It's disgusting that anyone would take a free ticket for someone to see His Holiness and decide to re-sell it," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"No one should buy such a ticket. It's just absolutely inconsistent with everything that this pope stands for."

Organisers made 80 000 tickets available to the public for the Central Park procession and 30 000 for the pope's three outdoor events in Philadelphia — 10 000 each for the festival, Mass and a speech on immigration and religious freedom at Independence Hall.

Read more on:    pope francis  |  us

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