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Buying tickets to University of Montana events got a lot easier last week, thanks to a new software system purchased by the Adams Event Center.

Called GrizTix, the new system allows would-be goers to concerts, games and other events on - and, sometimes, off - campus to buy tickets online, as well as to choose the section where they'll sit.

Logging onto allows the viewer to get information on upcoming events, view seating charts and buy tickets using a major credit card. It's an option Adams Center staff are excited about and hope people will use, the center's director, Mary Martin, said.

"One of the things we want to do is drive people to the Internet because, in terms of managing our time and expenses, it's actually less expensive for us to support ticketing online than somebody calling in and buying tickets over the phone," she said.

Toward that end, the center is offering a flat-rate "convenience fee" of $3 per order, no matter how many tickets are purchased. Given that the fee is $1.50 per ticket for telephone orders, buying online should save money for anyone ordering three or more tickets, said Jan Pierce, assistant director at the center.

The online fee doesn't benefit the Adams Center, but goes directly to Paciolan, the California company administering the software, Pierce said.

The center also hopes to offer online earlier starting times for ticket sales to some events, Muse said. For instance, when tickets to an event go on sale at 9 a.m. on a certain day, they might be available over the Internet starting at 7 a.m., she said.

Besides convenience and seating charts, the online system also should reduce waiting times for ticket buyers; no longer will they have to wait in line at the box office or sit in a phone queue waiting for an operator to take their orders, Pierce pointed out.

What's more, Muse said, the system's "best available" feature should speed the ordering process, too: Clicking onto that feature allows GrizTix to choose the best available seats at a show rather than requiring the buyer to figure out what those seats might be.

Up and running since last week, the online service supplements, rather than replaces, the existing TIC-IT-EZ system of sales by phone and at Worden's Market on North Higgins, the Adams Center Box Office, the University Center and Southgate Mall, Pierce said. In fact, those sales venues should soon all make use of the online system, she said.

And soon, as the old system phases out, all campus shows and events will be featured on the Web site; now, just the new shows get listed, to avoid confusion, Pierce said.

"It's just going to be way cool," said Muse.

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