MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Ticket scalping is surging ahead of Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria's visit to Memphis on March 17.
According to the church website, the Night of Hope event lasts for two hours filled with praise and worship music, encouragement from Victoria, a special testimony from Dodie Osteen, a prayer time together and an inspiring message from Joel Osteen. There is no intermission.
A Facebook post making its rounds on social media shows prices for the event have skyrocketed up to $255 each at FedEx Forum.
"This man's tickets cost as much as a Beyonce' ticket," posted Kenya Shelton.
"I can talk to God for free," posted Cecilia Smith. "For $2.99 you can sit on my couch and talk to him too."
But Lakewood Church representative Andrea Davis said the exorbitant prices are not legit.
"Tickets are just $15 no matter where the seats are located," said Davis. "This does not include the $2 facility fee or TicketMaster fee. The ticket price goes towards arena rental, equipment rental and transport, travel and other overhead. Ticketing allows the thousands of people who attend to have a reserved seat."
Davis said the church has been in a battle with ticket scalpers since Osteen began touring in 2004.
"We work with the ticketing agencies such as Ticketmaster to thwart scalping, and also help educate ticket buyers," she explained. "We strongly encourage people to only obtain tickets from the venue box office or the official ticketing agency, in this case Ticketmaster. Our website, JoelOsteen.com, is the best place to go to make sure you get correct ticketing information for all of our events."