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The Economy of Hype: How Expectation Will Drive Ticket Demand

For thousands of Alabamians, Christmas truly comes in July (and early August). As former Auburn center and host of The Cube Show reported on his morning show, just days ago Alabama fans were lined up at the local UPS hub by the hundreds. Why? Season ticket holders were waiting for a small package that was worth more than its weight in gold. Coveted Alabama Crimson Tide season tickets had arrived. The games may not start for another month, but that didn’t stop these people from not waiting at their homes. Part of that is the rabidness of football fans. But it is equal parts greed and fear, and I mean that respectfully. 

Although ticket holders can list their tickets on third party sites such as Stubhub and TickPick, they can’t collect revenue until they have them in hand. Even with face values soaring over $100.00 and after waiting years to get on the priority list, which means donating thousands of dollars just to be eligible to buy tickets, there is still money to be made. And, where there is money to be made, thieves will take advantage. So while some fans are eager to cash in, so are thieves, which is why these people flock to the UPS hub instead of waiting at their mailboxes. 

That sounds a little over the top, but it isn’t. Breaking up and selling a season ticket package can equate to THOUSANDS of cash dollars. With Alabama, it doesn’t seem to matter whom they play, or where, or what the season outlook is, every ticket commands a premium unlike anywhere else. According to TickPick’s Jack Slingland, the Alabama vs. Florida State week-one game currently commands the second most expensive price tag to get in the door, an average at over $1,000.

As you can see from this list, the rankings go as follows, as per TickPick:

1. Notre Dame vs. Georgia @ 1,534.19
2. Alabama vs. Florida State @ $1,015.59
3. Michigan vs. Ohio State @ $ 587.69
4.  Navy vs. Army @ $552.04
5. Georgia vs. Florida @ $519.16
6. Notre Dame vs. USC @ $519.16
7. Clemson vs. Auburn @ $486.19
8. Texas vs. Oklahoma @ $473.81
9. Auburn vs. Alabama @ $460.58
10. Michigan vs. Mich. State @ $418.12

Alabama may be one of the smallest states in the union, but college football success has run through Alabama almost exclusively for the last decade. It should be no surprise that Auburn also shows up more than once on TickPick’s list of the ten most expensive games of the 2017 season. Auburn’s visit to Howard’s Rock ranks ahead of the Iron Bowl, and the Tiger-on-Tiger game ranks 7th at an average price of almost $490 a ticket while the best rivalry game in football, the Iron Bowl, checks in at #9 with a $460 average.

See an interview/discussion about Auburn’s place on the list after the jump with myself and Tick Pick’s Jack Slingland.


Jack Slingland and I discussed Auburn’s inclusion in the list of College Football’s Ten Most Expensive Tickets. We were posed several questions by Devon Herzoff of Interdependence Public Relations to understand the why and how of ticket values as well as where values could go from here. 

How will prices for the matchup with the defending champions change as the hype builds with Clemson looking to make it three straight in the title game?

Zach Taylor:  While current ticket prices are incredibly high, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, in terms of the game itself, nothing good will happen between now and the Auburn/Clemson game. I am speaking of arrests and such. Rankings won’t change and unlike the NFL free agency, teams won’t get any better than they are right now. Another important aspect of the ticket price is that these prices are for unsold tickets, and the sellers are just now beginning to receive their season tickets. Once this happens, in-person sales will begin and ticket prices will plummet.

In short, the Auburn/Clemson game ticket will do nothing but drop, though I expect the price to stay steady. 

Jack Slingland: I don’t expect prices to change significantly as the game approaches, mainly because it is the first major game of the season for both schools. If these teams were facing off later in the season, prices would have a greater chance of fluctuating based on each team’s performance.”

Will Auburn make the Iron Bowl interesting and have implications on the final SEC standings? 

Zach Taylor: Absolutely. Alabama is going to be Alabama. They haven’t lost multiple regular season games in six years. It’s up to Auburn to be the contender, and this team is loaded. Can they produce? I think they can, and I think they will. The winner of this game will play in Atlanta. 

Jack Slingland: Rivalry games are almost always interesting, and I don’t expect this year’s Iron Bowl to be any different. If Auburn wins it, I’d imagine it would have major implications on the SEC standings.

Are there any other Auburn matchups that could sneak into the top 10 during the season? 

Zach Taylor: There are really two opportunities for an Auburn matchup to sneak into the top ten. The first game that could possibly rival either Auburn at Clemson or the Iron Bowl is Auburn’s trip to Baton Rouge where they haven’t won since 1999. The other game in question involves Auburn’s other rival, the Georgia Bulldogs, who will come to Jordan-Hare Stadium for this year’s edition of The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

Jack Slingland: Auburn vs Georgia has a chance to sneak into the top 10 if both teams are undefeated when they play on November 11.


  1. Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

    “Rivalry games are almost always interesting, and I don’t expect this year’s Iron Bowl to be any different. If Auburn wins it, I’d imagine it would have major implications on the SEC standings.”

    Understatement of the decade, lol.

    Seriously though, great work. Thoroughly enjoyed the read.

  2. hello2196 says:

    I enjoyed the read Zach but where’s the list of the Top Ten games?

  3. Jason Wright says:

    Interesting article Zach,

    Some big surprises on the list for me like Army/Navy at #4. Who would have thunk it? But no surprise at 5 of the top 10 games involve SEC teams.

  4. audude audude says:

    This is different and interesting. Thanks Zach! Let me play stupid, who is Jack Slingland?