Michael Jackson's public memorial – to be held Tuesday, July 7 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles – will be open to 17,500 attendees chosen through a free, online lottery system at StaplesCenter.com, officials involved with the plan said at a news conference today. Tim Leiweke, head of AEG, the company that had been producing Jackson's comeback concert “This Is It,” explained that 11,000 of those tickets will be for the actual memorial in Staples Center, and 6,500 will be seats at the Nokia Theater across the street where fans can watch a live feed, which will also be open to all broadcast and cable networks.
Registration for the seats will conclude on Saturday at 6pm (PT), at which time 8,750 names will be randomly selected to receive two tickets to either the Staples Center or the Nokia Theater. The recipients will be contacted via e-mail between 11am and 8pm (PT) on Sunday with a special code which, when entered at Ticketmaster.com, will provide further instructions on how to pick up the hard tickets and wristbands required for the Tuesday event.
Leiweke, L.A. city officials, and family spokesman Ken Sunshine all stressed that no one without a ticket and a wristband will be allowed within the Staples Center area. There will be no broadcast of the video from outside the Staples Center itself, and no public funeral procession. Sunshine said that the memorial is still being developed, and “no [further] details are forthcoming.” There was no comment, either, on reports that the 100 hours footage of Jackson's rehearsals for “This Is It” at the Staples Center may become a feature film.
UPDATE: According to a release by Jackson family spokesman Ken Sunshine, StaplesCenter.com has received over 500 million hits as of 11:30 a.m. (PT), averaging 120,000 per second. The site has added an additional server to handle the massive influx of traffic. The release also stresses that duplicate registrations for Jackson tickets will not be accepted and do not increase one's chances of getting a ticket to the memorial.
More from EW on Michael Jackson:
Michael Jackson's 10 greatest music videos
Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Playlist!
Michael Jackson: A life in pictures (part 1: 1958-1988)
Michael Jackson: Final rehearsal clip surfaces
“Scream” director Mark Romanek on Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's musical legacy: Tell us how you remember him
Jackson on TV: A classic artist, a revolutionary
'Thriller' at 25: Still Can't Beat It