DENVER (CBS4) – The University of Denver says be on the lookout for people trying to sell tickets to next week’s presidential debate.

Wednesday’s debate could be the most watched event on the planet and organizers are making sure it’s an invitation-only event.

The debates are the hardest events to see during a presidential campaign, and there is no shortage of people who will do almost anything to get in.

The Ritchie Center is the heart of the DU campus. In preparation for the first presidential debate, it’s become a dead end and the most exclusive venue in the country.

“This is history in the making right here,” DU senior Elle Mohs said.

Mohs is one of the thousands of students hoping to win one of about 200 invitations to watch the debate in person.

“The more events you attended on campus leading up to the debate, the more chances you got your name in the lottery,” Mohs said.

On Craigslist, postings offer hundreds of dollars for the opportunity to buy one of the coveted tickets. The university posted their own warning that the listings are as good as scams. There are no ticket sales to the debate — only a handful of invitations given to each campaign and the host university.

“We make very sure whoever the ticket is issued to, that’s who attends the debate,” Peter Eyre with the Presidential Debate Commission said. “This is one of the larger venues that we’ve done.”

Eyre has helped turn Magness Arena from a 7,000-seat stadium to a hall that will only accommodate a few hundred.

“The security will be very tight. This will be a very secure, highly locked down campus come Wednesday on debate day,” Eyre said.

A seat at the debate a rare privilege — one that not even money can buy.

The commission is essentially turning the Ritchie Center into a massive TV set. It won’t be finished until a day before the debate. Organizers do not even know how many people will be able to see the debate in person until Monday at the earliest.


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