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University of Montana Athletics details semifinal football ticket debacle

Playoff tickets sold out
Posted at 6:06 PM, Dec 13, 2023

MISSOULA — Saturday marks the first time the FCS semifinal has been played in Missoula since 2009.

Now, there’s been a growl coming from disgruntled Griz fans who couldn’t get tickets to this weekend’s playoff game against North Dakota State.

As fans flocked to GrizTix on the evening of December 12, 2023, to get a seat for the game, UM sports information director 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.

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 can't get a ticket, you can watch the game on ESPN2.