Auburn's executive associate athletic director credits excitement about the 2006 Tigers, who are ranked in a variety of preseason Top 10 polls, along with several attractive home opponents for creating the demand. Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers have lost just one SEC game the past two seasons.
"This is one of those seasons where we weren't able to fill all of the requests we had for tickets," Jackson says. "It was that way for all groups--scholarship donors, regular season ticket packages, faculty and students."
Despite significant increases in the cost of purchasing season tickets this year and concern that there would be a substantial number of people dropping out of the Tigers Unlimited season ticket program, that wasn't the case.
Jackson notes because of the possibility of dropouts, many Auburn fans were hoping to improve their seat location by filling prime spots of others who dropped out of the program, but there was little attrition in 2006.
"It is almost unbelievable to me how strong the demand has remained after a substantial price increase," Jackson says. "In the orange zone, which is our highest level of priority seats, we only had 47 seats open up."
Jackson says that beginning today (Monday), AU's ticket printer in Arkansas will ship season ticket books to fans via two-day Federal Express. "We have been really pleased with the job Fed Ex has done with the deliveries in the past and think this is a good way to get them out to the season ticket holders."
There will also be some tickets shipped via certified mail by the U.S. Postal Service while road game tickets will be sent from the ticket office on the AU campus as will faculty and staff tickets. A fan ordering season tickets as well as road tickets should receive multiple deliveries this week, Jackson notes.
"By the end of the week 95 percent of our fans should have their tickets in hand," he says. "We ask that fans who don't get them this week not to have a panic attack, something that happens every year. If there are any problems with somebody not getting their tickets they can contact us and we can print duplicates and we will make sure they get to see the games." He notes that a code can be put on the replacement tickets to determine which person is rightful seat holder if other people show up to claim a seat with the missing tickets.
Jackson predicts sellouts for all of the home conference games and notes that the Washington State game, the opener on Sept. 2nd, is close to a sellout with the Cougars expected to bring close to 4,000 fans unless they return additional tickets already shipped to Pullman. "They returned some tickets and we have about 800 or 900 single game tickets left for Washington State," he notes. "Arkansas sent us back some tickets and we have less than 400 of those remaining."
Because of Auburn's contract with Georgia that allows each team 10,000 tickets as the visitor (down from 10,500 in previous years), AU can only sell approximately 75,000 season tickets per year. With Tulane, Buffalo and Arkansas State only expected to bring about 500 fans apiece, tickets for those games can still be ordered.
Auburn's contract with Florida calls for the visitors to receive 8,000 seats while LSU gets 7,000. The number for Arkansas is between 2,500 and 3,000, Jackson notes.
For road games the Tigers have had a strong demand for the Thursday night contest at South Carolina. AU quickly sold all 7,500 tickets and could sell many more if they were available. Jackson notes that tickets for the road trips to Ole Miss and Mississippi State have been popular. For the other conference road game, at Alabama, the allotment of 10,000 (down from the previous 10,500) went to the highest priority ticket purchasers.
Football tickets are in demand for the students, too, who make their purchases on-line. Jackson notes that seniors have the highest priority followed by juniors, sophomores and freshmen. "When we got to the freshmen, we had 3,000 season tickets left and they didn't last long," he says. "They were gone in 53 minutes. We also had 1,000 student mini-season ticket packages and they were gone by 1 p.m. of the day we put them on sale.
"We are disappointed that some of the students who wanted to purchase tickets were not able to get them, but it wasn't just one group that didn't receive everything requested," Jackson says. "The demand at every level exceeded the tickets we had available this year."
The Tigers play home games on Sept. 2nd vs. Washington State, Sept. 16th vs. LSU, Sept. 23 vs. Buffalo, Oct. 7 vs. Arkansas, Oct. 14 vs. Florida, Oct. 21st vs. Tulane (homecoming), Nov. 4 vs. Arkansas State and Nov. 11 vs. Georgia. Road trips are Sept. 9 at Mississippi State, Sept. 28 at Arkansas, Oct. 28 at Ole Miss and Nov. 18 at Alabama.