The 2013 Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn produced a memorable finish as Auburn's Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal attempt 109 yards for a touchdown as time expired for a 34-28 upset of the top-ranked Crimson Tide.
By the week before kickoff, with both teams ranked in the top-five, ticket prices had soared. But a report from The Wall Street Journal says the Tigers struggled to sell tickets in 2013, even to the annual rivalry game, forcing the athletic department to call on major donors. The school told The Journal that it sold less than 10 percent of its single-game tickets for the Iron Bowl, in part because of worries about scalpers purchasing them, before donors stepped in to help.
The report says 13 donors purchased at least 20 tickets for the game at face value, including four who purchased 50 or more.
“We had thousands of unsold tickets as the 2013 season started," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said of the team's struggles with ticket sales. "When supply exceeds demand, we have to move tickets. To that [end], we turned to our top donors, and they came through for us.”
The athletic department operated at an $866,000 deficit for 2013.
Auburn finished with only a 3-9 record in 2012, and coach Gene Chizik was fired and replaced by Gus Malzahn. The Tigers reached the National Championship Game last season.
Auburn has a 7-2 record this season.
- Brad Rowland