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Jason Bryant | NWCA | June 20, 2022

Iowa sets DI wrestling dual-meet attendance record during the 2021-2022 season

A look back at the Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling dynasty

New Brighton, Minnesota — The National Wrestling Media Association recently released its annual numbers for Division I wrestling dual meet attendance.

The University of Iowa’s fanbase, leaders in Division I attendance since 2007, set a new record for home average of 14,905, selling out the entire season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes drew a total of 89,430, the second-highest home total since attendance figures started being tracked by members of the wrestling media in 2002. The numbers are based on home dual meet events, such as single duals, double duals, tri-meets or quad-meets.

In 2015-16, Iowa drew a record 97,325 fans, which was aided by the 42,287 at Kinnick Stadium in November of 2015 against Oklahoma State. Iowa has led the nation in home attendance in 19 of the 20 seasons it’s been tracked.

For the 11th straight season, Penn State ranked second in attendance with the Nittany Lions drawing an average of 7,776 fans per home dual across seven home events, selling out all home events between Rec Hall and the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions’ top crowd was 15,991 at the Bryce Jordan Center against Ohio State on February 2. That dual ranked sixth highest on the all-time list of most-attended duals and fourth among indoor crowds. Penn State has also sold out 61 straight home duals at Rec Hall and seven of nine at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Iowa and Penn State accounted for all seven duals during the 2021-22 season that had 10,000 fans or more. There have been 98 duals in Division I history that have broken the 10,000-fan mark.

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Oklahoma State ranked third, averaging 4,631 in eight dates at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. The Cowboys' top draw was against Oklahoma to close the home schedule. The event brought in 7,918 fans. Oklahoma State was also the top road draw, with the Cowboys making up the top event for six schools. Iowa was the top road draw at five schools, while Penn State accounted for four opponents’ top home crowds.

Iowa State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Utah Valley and Virginia Tech rounded out the top 10.

Iowa, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State have been in the nation’s top seven every year, while Rutgers has been a top-five squad with home attendance for six straight years. Minnesota’s been among the nation’s top 10 in attendance every year since 2002, while Ohio State’s been represented in 19 of the 20 seasons, with the Buckeyes sitting in the top six every year since 2012. Despite averaging over 1,000 fans for 11 straight seasons, this past season is only the third time ever Michigan’s been in the top 10, while another wrestling set of Wolverines, Utah Valley, is in the top 10 for the fourth straight year. Virginia Tech is a top-10 draw for the fourth time.

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Overall, 22 schools averaged over 1,000 fans per home dual or dual event, down from 24 in the last two trackable seasons (2019 and 2020). Twelve schools drew over 1,000 fans for each of their home dual events and 117 duals drew at least four figures during the 2021-22 season. In 2019-20, 166 duals drew over 1,000, showing the impact of COVID-19-related issues with home attendance this season.

In 2021-22, 33 schools reported at least one home dual event drawing over 1,000 fans. In 2019-20, 44 schools reported crowds over 1,000.

2021-22 Division I College Dual Meet Attendance
Rank School Average Total Counted  Dates Crowds
Over 1K
Top Draw
1 Iowa 14,905.0 89,430 6 6 All
2 Penn State 7,776.0 54,432 7 7 Ohio State
3 Oklahoma State 4,631.0 37,048 8 8 Oklahoma
4 Iowa State 3,961.6 27,731 7 7 Iowa
5 Rutgers 3,712.1 33,409 9 9 Army West Point
6 Ohio State 3,493.9 24,457 7 7 Iowa
7 Minnesota 2,899.5 17,397 6 6 Wisconsin
8 Michigan 2,852.2 14,261 5 4 Penn State
9 Utah Valley 2,276.5 4,553 2 2 Oklahoma State
10 Virginia Tech 2,258.3 13,550 6 5 Ohio State
11 NC State 2,048.4 10,242 5 5 North Carolina
12 Stanford** 2,003.0 2,003 1 1 Oklahoma State
13 Penn** 1,871.3 5,614 3 1 Penn State
14 Northern Iowa 1,624.8 8,124 5 2 Iowa State
15 Nebraska 1,521.7 9,130 6 5 Iowa
16 Arizona State 1,427.8 7,139 5 5 Oklahoma
17 Indiana 1,440.0 7,200 5 5 Purdue
18 Wisconsin 1,370.5 8,223 6 6 Rutgers
19 Missouri 1,350.8 8,105 6 2 Iowa State
20 Lehigh 1,290.1 10,321 8 8 Cornell
21 Oklahoma 1,067.7 6,406 6 1 Oklahoma State
22 South Dakota State 1,063.0 6,378 6 3 North Dakota State
23 Oregon State 950.3 2,851 3 1 Cal Poly
24 Navy 950.0 2,850 3 1 Army West Point
25 Lock Haven 937.8 4,689 5 2 Michigan State
26 Purdue 880.8 4,404 5 1 Wisconsin
27 Northern Colorado 762.6 3,813 5 1 Wyoming
28 Cal Poly 750.0 3,000 4 1 San Francisco State
29 Wyoming 749.8 2,999 4 0 Oklahoma State
30 Princeton** 740.0 740 1 0 Cornell
31 West Virginia 701.2 3,506 5 0 Wyoming
32 Little Rock 676.0 2,704 4 1 Oklahoma State
33 Central Michigan 577.2 2,886 5 0 Michigan
34 Illinois 564.8 2,259 4 1 Iowa
35 Maryland 559.5 4,476 8 1 Penn State
36 Binghamton 529.4 2,647 5 1 Buffalo
37 Virginia** 515.5 1,031 2 0 Virginia Tech
38 Pittsburgh 456.6 3,196 7 0 Michigan/Army West Point
39 Northwestern 452.8 2,264 5 1 Iowa
40 Cornell** 452.8 2,264 5 0 Stanford
41 North Dakota State 420.3 2,522 6 0 Missouri
42 Air Force 386.3 2,318 6 0 Oklahoma State
43 Kent State 375.0 1,500 4 0 Ohio
44 CSU Bakersfield 347.5 695 2 0 Arizona State
45 American 345.9 2,421 7 0 Maryland
46 Rider 337.8 1,689 5 0 Purdue
47 Chattanooga 337.0 1,348 4 0 Appalachian State
48 Michigan State 308.8 1,544 5 0 Penn State
49 Edinboro 293.0 2,051 7 0 Pittsburgh
50 Drexel 275.4 1,377 5 0 Purdue
51 Cleveland State 248.5 994 4 0 Ohio
52 Sacred Heart 248.0 496 2 0 Binghamton
53 Clarion 190.5 762 4 0 Kent State
54 Buffalo 139.2 835 6 0 Pittsburgh
55 Franklin & Marshall 122.5 490 4 0 Hofstra

Additional Information

Asterisks & Caveats: Some schools didn’t allow fans for certain events. We didn’t include those individual events into their totals. Some schools also ticketed for some events and not for others. Stanford, for example, ticketed just one home event and didn’t track the others. Cornell had attendance capped for most events this past season. Some schools provided incomplete information. Some provided numbers of counting fans despite not being ticketed. Only duals with numbers they were able to provide were included.

Indoor dominance: Eight of the top 10 all-time single dual crowds have come at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center, and eight of the top 10 all-time indoor crowds have also come at the venue.

All in All: Iowa sold out all six home duals. The chart above says "all" for the top draw. Those opponents were Princeton, Army West Point, Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Methodology: Tracking the attendance figures varies by school and some schools opt to ticket for some events and not ticket for others, making the numbers an imperfect science. This is for dual meet events only, not tournaments hosted by schools.

Nothing to see here: Appalachian State, Army West Point, Bellarmine, Bloomsburg, Bucknell, California Baptist, Campbell, Davidson, Duke, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, Harvard, Hofstra, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Ohio and VMI reported they didn’t track wrestling attendance, didn’t track it this season, or the sport was a non-ticketed event, so there were no numbers to report. Brown, Columbia, LIU, Presbyterian, SIUE and The Citadel didn’t respond to numerous requests for information.

Showing your work: Of the 79 schools surveyed, 55 schools responded with figures with 52 of them showing individual home match figures. Three provided a number of dates and an average. There were 17 schools that reported they don’t track attendance, while six schools didn’t reply to numerous requests for information at all.

Background: The National Wrestling Media Association assumed the role of collection of the attendance figures in 2017. Denny Diehl of the Lehigh University Wrestling News began tracking in 2002. TheOpenMat.com’s Alex Steen handled the compilation from 2015-2016.

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