Yale junior Matthew J. Pollack was sitting in a morning lecture on Nov. 1 when he noticed something strange: His classmates were trying to buy tickets to the Harvard-Yale football game from a link Yale’s administration had never publicized.
Pollack said he started “freaking out,” texted more than 10 friends, and soon learned that a leaked link to buy tickets to The Game was circulating around campus.
“I jumped onto the website, and it was literally crashing every two minutes,” Pollack said. “It was completely insane.”
The website displayed roughly 3,000 tickets available to Yale undergraduates, a number that dropped with every refresh, according to Pollack, who ultimately received a ticket. Others fared less well — technical glitches left some students ticketless, while others paid for tickets that were later revoked.
Students later learned the Harvard-Yale ticket purchase link “went live prematurely and in error,” Victoria M. “Vicky” Chun, Yale’s director of athletics, wrote in a Nov. 2 email to Yale students.
“Due to the volume of students attempting to purchase tickets, the system crashed, and resulted in an oversale of tickets and multiple credit card charges,” Chun wrote. “We sincerely apologize for these errors and the ways they have impacted you.”
Yale’s Athletics Ticket Office emailed students with ticket confirmations by 5 p.m. on Nov. 3, per Chun’s email, but did not announce another round of ticket sales. Students who were charged for tickets but did not receive confirmations will receive refunds, according to the email.
Josephine W. Cureton, a junior at Yale, said she spent at least an hour trying to get a ticket.
“It was kind of really hectic,” Cureton said.
Though Cureton’s credit card was charged in the process, she said she did not receive a ticket confirmation until she reached out to Yale Athletics directly.
Sukesh Ram, a Yale senior who was unable to snag a ticket, said he was “really disappointed” the university has not announced a plan to sell more tickets through an “official channel.”
“They either need to find a bigger stadium, honestly, when it’s hosted at Harvard, or they need to just make sure, obviously, something like that doesn’t happen,” said Ram, who is still seeking a ticket. “Yale should try harder to maybe have viewing parties or find some kind of alternative that’s more equitable, because there’s 6,000 undergrads, and what are we supposed to do?”
Yale spokesperson Karen Peart did not respond to multiple requests for comment, and Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane declined to comment.
Senior Herman L. Peng was unable to buy a ticket through the leaked link but later purchased one from a friend. This year’s ticketing mishaps were not that “huge an anomaly,” he said.
“The bigger issue is probably communication. That’s always been a fraught process,” Peng said.
Yale junior Deniz Ince said she was ultimately able to get a ticket after opening the leaked link on an incognito tab. Some others — who were not so lucky — are now seeking tickets through different channels, according to Ince.
“I have heard of a lot of students just asking around just trying to see if anyone’s selling the tickets that they got,” Ince said. “I haven’t heard of any success stories yet.”
—Staff writer Vivi E. Lu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @vivielu_.
—Staff writer Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.
Read more in NewsHarvard Law School Panel Reviews Proposed Plans to Reform SCOTUS