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Iron Bowl tickets prices close to record

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Alabama’s No. 1 ranking is pushing up prices for this weekend’s Iron Bowl.

StubHub reports its Iron Bowl sales have increased 68 percent from last year, with the average ticket being sold for $419. Face value is $65.

Steve Susce, co-owner of AAATix in Birmingham, said the demand for Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa rivals the most for an Iron Bowl since 1993 when Auburn completed a perfect season by defeating an 8-1-1 Alabama team.

“That game was a monster, and this game is right up there with it,” Susce said. “This time it’s all about the No.1 team in the nation. It’s a bandwagon effect and, until Alabama loses, it will just get stronger and stronger and stronger.”

Susce said his worst Iron Bowl seats are selling in the high $200s, compared with the high $300s for the SEC Championship Game, when Florida and Alabama meet in a possible No.1 vs. No.2 showdown in Atlanta.

“The SEC is a more popular game, and it should be, but the Auburn-Alabama game is still a mini-Super Bowl,” Susce said. “It’s still a corporate event. You have some Auburn people selling a few more tickets than normal.”

Corey Gibbs, managing partner of Ticket Solutions in Tuscaloosa, say there’s more demand thanks to Alabama fans who believe this is the year they can get their first Iron Bowl win over Auburn since 2001.

“The excitement of this year is all kind of piled on top like an ice cream sundae,” Gibbs said, “and they’re waiting for that cherry on Saturday.”

Gibbs said a large number of the 10,000 tickets allocated to Auburn are being resold.

“Either Auburn fans are disappointed and don’t want to watch this, or it’s Thanksgiving weekend and they’re traveling somewhere,” Gibbs said. “The economic situation isn’t the greatest now, and if people can sell a couple tickets and make up a large chunk of Christmas gift money, people will do that as well.”

Saturday’s ticket prices are ahead of the pace from previous years. At the past three Iron Bowls, StubHub’s average ticket sold for $337 (2007), $321 (2006) and $393 (2005). It’s $419 at this point this year.