Median Iron Bowl ticket around $300

Buying tickets to the Iron Bowl could be causing budget problems for Alabama and Auburn fans.

With No. 1 Alabama undefeated and in-state rival Auburn ranked fourth at a surprising 10-1, the cost of tickets is approaching record levels for this game.

The median price for an Iron Bowl ticket sold on StubHub is roughly $300, the same price fans paid to see one of the season's most highly anticipated NFL matchups -- Sunday night's game between Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The current get-in price is hovering at around $360, and it's being propped up by local corporate interests.

"It's not really 'Joe Fan' keeping the prices high anymore," said Steve Susce of Birmingham's AAATix. "It's the corporate crowd, the companies that go to this game no matter what."

Susce said his clientele usually waits until the last minute to purchase tickets, as does Susce himself sometimes to fill orders for clients.

"These people need to take their clients to the game," he said. "It's a full-day opportunity to do business."

The 2010 game, which featured Auburn quarterback Cam Newton against the defending champion Crimson Tide, cost a lot of money, as did the 1993 Iron Bowl. That game wasn't televised because the Tigers were on probation, so those who wanted to see it were paying $500 apiece at kickoff.

"This is a bigger ticket than 2010," Susce said. "It's at Auburn, which means fewer seats and more Alabama fans trying to get in."

At a capacity of 87,450, Auburn's Jordan-Hare has about 14,000 fewer seats than Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium.

With prices as high as they are, there is worry about unusable tickets. Auburn allows fans to turn regular tickets into paper tickets by selling them over StubHub. While the bar code on the original ticket is deactivated to create a new code for the buyer, an unscrupulous seller could try to sell the ticket without a fan knowing that the bar code is no longer valid. For its part, Auburn has advised fans buying tickets online to go to checkpoints to verify the validity of the bar code before making a purchase.