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$95,000 tickets for Michelle Obama in London; no ATL appearance planned

By David Pendered

Michelle Obama’s book tour opens Tuesday in Chicago with Oprah Winfrey as moderator, and Obama doesn’t get much closer than that to Atlanta. Ticket prices are reportedly through the roof – approaching $100,000 for the show in London.

At that price, a report from Chicago that sputtered over the $3,000 price tag for VIP tickets in that city seems a tad provincial. A report by the CBS affiliate in Chicago observed:

  • “CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley said Michelle Obama’s book tour consists of inclusionary talk, but exclusionary prices. There won’t be any low-key, Hillary-like book signings for Michelle; instead, she’s proving to be an arena-star like Beyoncé.”

A report about prices in London appeared on hotnewhiphop.com, which sourced the price to the website of the location where Obama is to appear, Southbank Centre. The report cited a statement from Southbank Centre, saying it won’t honor any tickets it discovers to have been sold by a third party.

Here’s how the website handled the currency conversion:

  • “Tickets to the event, which sold out quickly, are being resold on the ticket reselling site Viagogo for up to 72,181 pounds, which is $94,665.45 USD.”

With characteristic British aplomb, the snippet posted by the London event space – which has seating for 2,700 – concludes:

  • “Join Michelle Obama for an exclusive event as she discusses her warm, wise, and revelatory memoir, Becoming.”

London is the one foreign city where Obama is slated to appear to discuss the book. The moderator for the London show is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a feminist and novelist from Nigeria. Adichie’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages. Adichie’s 2009 TED talk is one of the most-viewed TED talks and her 2012 talk, We Should all be Feminists, was published as a book in 2014, according to report on her website.

The former first lady has 13 appearances scheduled and, except for one in Washington, all are far from the Southeast.

The tour has a definite coastal orientation, including stops in Boston, Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Washington, and Los Angeles and San Jose, Ca. Other stops include Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Detroit. And London, where ticket prices approach $100,000.

The tour initially was planned with 10 stops in 10 cities, according to reports published in September. Demand in two cities was so high that a second date was scheduled in each of them – in Washington and the New York borough of Brooklyn. The London show was added after those early reports.

The book is slated for release Tuesday. Previews have already spurred a bit of buzz with President Trump.

Obama makes a number of statements about Trump, including this one about Trump’s attacks on her husband’s place of birth:

  • “’The whole [birther] thing was crazy and mean-spirited, of course, its underlying bigotry and xenophobia hardly concealed,’” she writes, in excerpts of the book published by ABC News and The Washington Post.
  • “’But it was also dangerous, deliberately meant to stir up the wingnuts and kooks,’” she adds.
  • “’What if someone with an unstable mind loaded a gun and drove to Washington? What if that person went looking for our girls?
  • “’Donald Trump, with his loud and reckless innuendos, was putting my family’s safety at risk. And for this I´d never forgive him.’”

According to a report by usatoday.com, Trump told reporters Friday:

  • “Michelle Obama got paid a lot of money to write a book and they always insist you come up with controversy,” Trump said….


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.



  1. Nancy Keyes November 11, 2018 7:55 pm

    I’m sorry, but I find it ludicrous that Donald Trump would berate anyone who wanted to do something to make money.Report

  2. Sp 60 November 11, 2018 9:56 pm

    Who cares?

    She should be ashamed of charging that much for tickets to some BS event like this.Report

  3. Sp 60 November 11, 2018 9:58 pm

    Trump was a businessman. His job was to make money.

    This is trading the Presidency for cash. Worse than Hillary’s graft for the Clinton Foundation.Report

  4. colon cancer of stage 4 November 12, 2018 10:20 am

    I’m definitely not an Obama supporter. She won’t go away because her husband keeps giving interviews and speaking out against the current administration. Michelle and her husband had their time in the sun. It’s not uncommon for former Presidents and their spouses to write biographies, and public speaking. But so much is mentioned about them that you think they are still in the White House. My last memory of her was rolling her eyes when Melania and Trump gifted them on their last day. That was truly classlessReport

  5. Matt Leonard November 12, 2018 10:21 pm

    So the $95,000 is a scalper price, not the original selling price. You can’t blame her for that. That’s probably also true of the $3,000 price cited in Chicago, I’m guessing? Please clarify, Saporta Report.

    Personally I doubt that Michelle Obama would encourage such outrageous prices, because of my experience meeting her while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Botswana in 2011. We were not originally on her schedule while she was in the country, but when she heard that PCVs wanted to meet her, she made time.Report

  6. David Pendered November 13, 2018 11:55 am

    Hello, Matt,
    You are correct. Third-party resellers, aka scalpers, are responsible for some of the prices cited in the story. The face value of tickets are posted on the website provided in the story to the former first lady’s website for the tour, becomingmichelleobama.com. As an example, the website indicates tickets in Detroit are available for $300 each, and were priced up to $3,000 for a VIP package.


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