For the 16th season in a row, Iowa Hawkeyes wrestling program leads nation in attendance

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

For the 16th consecutive season, the Iowa wrestling program led the nation in home attendance.

According to the annual NCAA Division I wrestling home dual meet attendance report from the National Wrestling Media Association, which was released Thursday, the Hawkeyes averaged 14,858 fans per home dual during the 2022-23 season.

In all, Iowa had 118,870 total fans come to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for its eight home duals, according to the NWMA. That is the highest season-long attendance total since the NWMA began tracking home attendance figures in 2002, surpassing the previous record of 97,325, set by Iowa during the 2015-16 season.

A general view as thousands of fans watch wrestlers being introduced during a Cy-Hawk Series NCAA men's wrestling dual between Iowa and Iowa State this season.

The Hawkeyes drew sell-out crowds, meaning 14,905 in attendance, for six of their eight home duals this season. They were also the top road draw, as six schools — Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Army West Point, Chattanooga and Purdue — saw their highest attendance totals come when hosting the Hawkeyes.

Iowa, the second-place team finishers at the 2023 NCAA Championships, has led the nation in home attendance 20 times in the last 21 seasons, including every year since 2007. The Hawkeyes finished second in 2006 to Oklahoma State.

Penn State, the 2023 NCAA team champs, finished second in average home attendance for the 12th straight season. The Nittany Lions averaged 9,225 fans over seven home duals. They hosted two at the Bryce Jordan Center: Against Michigan, which drew 15,975 fans, and Iowa, which drew 15,998.

Iowa State finished third in average home attendance, at 5,287 fans over six home dates. Their largest home crowd, 8,757, came when they hosted Illinois on Feb. 12 as part of a Beauty and the Beast promotion with their women's gymnastics program.

Northern Iowa finished eighth in average home attendance, a program-best, at 2,812 fans over six home dates, all at the McLeod Center. The Panthers' largest home crowd, 5,754, came when they hosted Iowa State on Feb. 10. It is also the first time since 2017 that the Panthers cracked the top 10.

NCAA Division I Wrestling Attendance Figures

Stats compiled by the National Wrestling Media Association

  1. IOWA -- Eight home dates, 14,858 average, 118,870 total
  2. Penn State -- Seven home dates, 9,225 average, 64,577 total
  3. IOWA STATE -- Seven home dates, 5,287 average, 37,012 total
  4. Rutgers -- Five home dates, 4,294 average, 21,474 total
  5. Oklahoma State -- Seven home dates, 4,067 average, 28,475 total
  6. Ohio State -- Seven home dates, 3,849 average, 26,948 total
  7. Virginia Tech -- Four home dates, 3,137 average, 12,551 total
  8. NORTHERN IOWA -- Six home dates, 2,812 average, 16,875 total
  9. Minnesota -- Six home dates, 2,786 average, 16,719 total
  10. Michigan -- Six home dates, 2,700 average, 16,202 total

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.