Old Football Foe Helping Create Demand for Tickets

Auburn officials discuss their brisk ticket sales for the 2005 football season.

Auburn, Ala.--Auburn fans wanting to buy football mini-season books are advised to not wait too long to make the purchase.

That is the word from Stephen Naughton, Auburn University's director for ticket sales, who notes that packages are moving very well.

"We put them on sale Wednesday and sold 1,200 the first day," Naughton tells Inside the Auburn Tigers "The sales haven't been as busy Thursday, but we are anticipating selling out before too long. I don't know exactly how long we will have them."

The mini-season ticket books, which cost $248, include a ticket to the games vs. Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Ball State, Western Kentucky, South Carolina and Ole Miss. They do not include a ticket to the home game vs. Alabama, something available only to contributors to the Tigers Unlimited program.

Because of Auburn's agreement with Alabama, the Tide receives 10,500 tickets when it is the visiting team at Jordan-Hare Stadium and Auburn receives the same number of seats when the Tigers play in Tuscaloosa. AU's maximum allotment for any of the other visitors this season is 8,000 for Georgia Tech. After close to seats are sold in season tickets to Tigers Unlimited contributors, students and faculty, 2,500 seats are available as mini-season books.

Naughton says he believes the interest by Auburn fans in the Georgia Tech game has helped spark interest in the mini-season books, noting that the Tech game is becoming a "hot" ticket. "I believe Georgia Tech has sold all of its allotment of 8,000 tickets," he says. "They asked us for more tickets, but we told them that we aren't going to have any available for them."

Naughton says he remembers the Tech game being a popular one for fans when he was a student at AU during the 1980s. "It looks like Georgia Tech is still a popular opponent," he notes.

Tech was an original member of the Southeastern Conference and became one of Auburn's main rivals during that period. The two teams continued to play annually even after Tech elected to leave the SEC and play in the ACC. However, the Yellow Jackets decided to drop the series, which was dormant for 17 years.

Despite several unattractive home games on the schedule vs. Ball State of the Mid-America Conference and Division I-AA opponent Western Kentucky, AU officials are hoping that every ticket for the entire season will be sold this year.

Jeremy Roberts, who handles athletic marketing for the university, says he is not surprised the mini-books are selling well.

"With Georgia Tech being a traditional rival, who we haven't seen at Jordan-Hare Stadium for many years, that gives people another reason to be a part of it," Roberts says. "With (Coach Steve) Spurrier coming in to coach South Carolina, that will be an interesting game. I think the expectations of having a great defense, a new quarterback and a new backfield have a lot of people interested.

"The mini-books have some of our better seats because Alabama gets 10,500 tickets, Tech gets 8,000 and South Carolina, Ole Miss and Miss State get less than that," Roberts adds "What the ticket office did, they took the best tickets that Alabama gets and instead of giving them to Tech they are giving them to the mini-season ticket buyers. On Wednesday we had some tickets on the sideline that we sold. Now the tickets being sold are in the north end zone." Roberts adds that all of the mini-books are higher than the first five rows, which can be tough to see from with players and coaches on the sidelines sometimes eclipsing the action.

Coach Tommy Tuberville

Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers finished the 2004 season with a 13-0 mark, setting a school record for the most victories in a single season. Auburn will open the season vs. Tech on Sept. 3 with a 15-game winning streak on the line. The Yellow Jackets haven't played at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 1986 when Coach Pat Dye's Tigers took a 31-10 victory. The series, which was played almost every season beginning in 1892, Auburn's first year of football, ended in 1987 at Grant Field as the Tigers won 20-10. The two teams didn't play again until opening day of the 2003 season when Tech ended Auburn's nine-game winning streak in the series with a 17-3 upset victory in Atlanta.

The original plan was to play a three-game series with one contest at Grant Field with Tech as the home team, one in 2004 at the Georgia Dome with a 50-50 ticket split and this year's game at Auburn. However, the 2004 game was cancelled because of scheduling problems with the Georgia Dome and after further consideration a desire by both universities to make their home schedules more attractive to season ticket purchasers.

Other home games this season for the Tigers are on Sept. 10 vs. Mississippi State, Sept. 17 vs. Ball State, Sept. 24 vs. Western Kentucky, Oct. 1 vs. South Carolina, Oct. 29 vs. Ole Miss and Nov. 19 vs. Alabama. Single game tickets, which cost $33, are available for the games vs. Ball State and Western Kentucky. They can be ordered by phone at 1-800-AUB-1957, extension 1 from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CT or on-line www.autigertickets.com.

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