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Specifically, how could I say 20 tickets have been "sold" when referring to free tickets?

I've considered given out or given away, but neither implies a person asking for a ticket and being given one.

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Probably distributed would do - or look at it from the other side of the transaction, and say they were taken up. – FumbleFingers Mar 13 '13 at 16:45
If you want to focus on the fact that people requested the tickets, you might reword your sentence to say that "We fulfilled requests for 20 tickets." – Carolyn Mar 13 '13 at 22:25
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I like FumbleFingers' "distributed" but "issued" would also work if you are referring to the tickets that have been requested.

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I might say, “How many tickets have been comped?” (Comp is a commonly-used abbreviated form of complimentary.) Cheapies and freebies are nouns used for such tickets, but I don't know of verb forms using those words. Note, the phrase bums on seats in the valleyadvocate link above refers to fannies in seats, not hobos.

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