MISSOULA — The anticipation for this weekend's Griz game was high on Tuesday night as fans flocked to Griz Tix to buy general admission tickets.
However, that excitement turned to frustration as the site quickly sold out. While many blamed bots or third-party sites, the University of Montana is clearing the air on what happened.
As UM Director of Strategic Communication, Dave Kuntz shared to X, the issue was limited tickets.
"Griz fans, what happened last night with Griztix was supply & demand. There were only 2-to-3 thousand tickets available after season ticket re-ups & student allotments. There were no large-scale "bot" activities. The fact is this is a big game with a ton of demand & that led to a quick sellout."
Now, there’s been a growl coming from disgruntled Griz fans who couldn’t get tickets to this weekend’s playoff game.
As fans flocked to GrizTix on the evening of December 12, 2023, to get a seat for the game, UM Football's Director of Communications Eric Taber said a high amount of site traffic may have impacted sales, especially when there weren't many tickets left.
Taber detailed, “There was only about 3,000 tickets left to sell to the general public so it was just tight and they went really fast online.”
The low amount of public tickets is due to almost all of the season ticket holders reserving their seats in advance. Season ticket holders get an early access period where they can buy or reject a playoff ticket.
“18,761 season ticket holders this year, that’s a record for Washington-Grizzly Stadium. So, more season ticket holders than we’ve ever had, and this week in particular, we had pretty much 100% buy-in from every season ticket holder," Taber explained. "When you think about it, that is most of the stadium. I mean, that’s almost 19,00 people in a 25,000-seat stadium.”
Taber also shared that 3,000 seats are reserved for the student section, 250 for the band, the NCAA required 500 for the opposing team, and additional tickets for players’ families.
UM athletics set the public ticket price at $35 but they sold out extremely fast and now can be seen at prices of $100 to $1,000 online.
"There are human beings and there are bots out there that buy tickets and sell them on a secondary market for a profit. There’s not a lot of ability to stop that," Taber described. "It’s unfortunate. We want everybody to experience Grizzly football, we want that to be accessible for everybody.”
Taber said that if someone — such as a season-ticket holder — wanted to re-sell their ticket and up-charge, UM can’t stop them. However, they can block large quantities of ticket purchases.
“We do take steps to prevent large quantities of purchases and that’s selling in groups of 4 to 8 so an entire section of the stadium can’t be bought out from underneath us,” he stated.
Kuntz also shared to X that "...about 3% of the stadium capacity is currently available on the secondary market. Those tickets collectively couldn't fill up the smallest section of the entire stadium."
But those third parties sites are the place to check if you're still looking for a ticket to Saturday's semifinal.
To be proactive, the University of Montana Police Department increased the frequency of patrols around the ticket office at the Adams Center on Wednesday. They told MTN News they haven’t had any issues as of 2 p.m.
Kickoff for Saturday’s semifinal game is 2:30 p.m. If you couldn't get a ticket, you can watch the game on ESPN 2.