It seems former first lady Michelle Obama has more friends in the United Kingdom than anybody could have anticipated. Tickets for an “exclusive event” at the Southbank Center in London sold out almost immediately, leading fans to speculate as to why the relatively small venue was chosen. Tickets have now skyrocketed to a stunning £7,000 on resale sites, equivalent to $9,129 United States Dollars.
The event is part of a larger book tour for Obama’s new memoir, titled “Becoming.” The website for the venue says that during the event she will invite, “the audience at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall into her world, chronicles the experiences that shaped her.”
Famed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will also be there to join in on the conversation, which thousands of British fans will sadly now have to miss due to the extreme cost.
This is the only stop in the United Kingdom on the tour out of the roughly 13 events. Tickets for the U.S. stops are much cheaper due to the increased availability and size of the venues over here on our side of the pond.
While tickets are cheaper, they certainly aren’t what anybody would describe as cheap. Tickets for the event at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center run $756 for the cheapest seats in the house, with better seats going for upwards of $1,100.
Several of the U.S. events have sold out as well, including the one at Chicago’s United Center on November 13. A quick look at Stubhub shows an interesting discrepancy – the most expensive resale tickets for that event are around $2,000, a far cry from what they are selling for in the U.K.
The reasoning, as previously mentioned, involves the size of the venue more than anything. The Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall holds a maximum of 2,700 people. The United Center seats 23,500, and the Barclays Center 19,000. The venues in the United States are far larger than the one in the U.K., leading many to take issue with the choice of such a small venue.
Fans have asked question after question of the venue, pleading for another show or a larger place for the chance to see Obama speak. The Southbank Center has responded with an outline of their policy against third-party ticket sales, which means that some of these tickets reaching upwards of $9,000 may not even work at the end of the day.
“We take secondary ticketing very seriously and aim to discourage this by stipulating that tickets should not be resold for profit or commercial gain,” a spokesperson said in an official statement. “If we find tickets on sale without our authorization by any unauthorized third parties they are identified and canceled.”
The book tour kicks off with the November 13 Chicago event and concludes with a second stop to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on December 19. Along the way, Obama will be joined by a variety of celebrities and public figures including Oprah Winfrey, Phoebe Robinson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Reese Witherspoon.
Why do you think the former first lady of the United States is so popular across the pond? Share your thoughts in the comments below and start a conversation!