Massive demand for Jackson memorial tickets

Sat Jul 4, 2009 9:25am EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than half a million fans from around the world applied for 17,500 free tickets to Michael Jackson's public memorial service next week, organizers said on Friday as a massive security operation got underway.

The life and music of the self-proclaimed "king of pop," who died of sudden cardiac arrest last Thursday, will be celebrated on Tuesday at the Staples Center, a basketball arena in downtown Los Angeles.

Officials on Friday unveiled an ambitious online lottery that will allow fans to attend either the televised service at the arena or watch the proceedings on a big screen at the nearby Nokia Theater.

But within minutes, the ( server crashed. Officials warned additional disruptions were likely as fans logged on ahead of the Saturday deadline at 6 p.m. PDT.

"You might want to consider watching this from the comfort of your own home," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who is doubling as the city's acting mayor.

The ceremony will also streamed online.

A wide area around the venues in downtown Los Angeles will be blocked off for the 10 a.m. event. Both local and state law-enforcement agencies have been marshaled for duty.

A local news-radio station reported that more than 1,400 officers from the Los Angeles Police Department alone have been asked to volunteer for duty on Monday and Tuesday. The LAPD, which has about 9,000 officers in total, declined to comment on the report or to reveal a staffing number.   Continued...

<p>Fans stand near a memorial for deceased pop star Michael Jackson outside the Jackson family home in Encino, California July 3, 2009. Jackson, the child star turned King of Pop who set the world dancing but whose musical genius was overshadowed by a bizarre lifestyle and sex scandals. Jackson was 50. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>