April - 27 - 2023

The National Wrestling Media Association has released its annual NCAA Division I wrestling home dual meet attendance report for the 2022-23 season and for the 16th-straight season, the University of Iowa is the nation’s top home draw.

Iowa, Penn State, Iowa State, Rutgers and Oklahoma State were the top five home draws this season.

RELATED: Attendance stats since 2002 (via Mat Talk Online)

The Hawkeyes drew an average of 14,858 fans per home date in 2022-23 and saw a record total of 118,870 fans come through the doors at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa's overall total is the highest total attendance number since Division I attendance records started being recorded in 2002. The previous high season total was Iowa’s 97,325 in the 2015-16 season, which included the NCAA-record 42,287 at Kinnick Stadium. The 14,858 is the second-highest average attendance in college wrestling history, second only to the Hawkeyes’ average last season.

The Hawkeyes drew capacity crowds of 14,905 in six of their eight home dates.

Penn State was second for the 12th-straight season drawing an average of 9,225 fans. Two of the Nittany Lions home duals were at the Bryce Jordan Center. Those two duals drew nearly 16,000 fans. According to Penn State Athletic Communications, the Nittany Lions have sold out 66-straight duals in Rec Hall and 75 of the last 77 home events. Penn State’s 15,998 against Iowa on January 27 is tied for the third-largest dual meet crowd in college wrestling history and ties the indoor mark, also set by Penn State against Iowa, on Feb. 10, 2018.

Iowa State averaged 5,287 fans with six home dates. The Cyclones are third in attendance for the second time in three seasons and have been in the top seven since 2002, the first year attendance was tracked. Rutgers is in the top six for the eighth straight season and is fourth for the third time since 2018. Oklahoma State is fifth and has been in the top 10 each year since 2002, never falling lower than seventh. Ohio State has been consistently in the top six since 2012 and ranks sixth for the second-straight year. Virginia Tech reached a program high of seventh. The Hokies were 10th a year ago and have been ranked in the top 10 six times. Northern Iowa might have lost some of the mystique by moving full-time into the McLeod Center from its iconic West Gym, but it did allow the Panthers to rank eighth in attendance, a program high. It’s also the first time since 2017 the Panthers have ranked in the Top 10. Minnesota was ninth, keeping the Gophers streak alive of Top 10 draws. Michigan ranked 10th, the fourth time in the last five years the Wolverines have broken the Top 10.

Several schools saw high attendance marks during combined events with women’s gymnastics. Often dubbed “Beauty and the Beast,” Iowa State, Arizona State, Northern Illinois and Kent State saw their highest home attendance in the combined events.

Iowa was the top road draw as six schools – Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Army West Point, Chattanooga and Purdue – saw its high crowds come against the visiting Hawkeyes. Penn State was the top road draw at Rutgers, Ohio State, Indiana and Rider. Oklahoma State was also a solid road draw as the Cowboys were the top drawing team for Iowa (tied), Oregon State, Oklahoma and Bucknell.

For the first time in 15 years, Cal Poly was represented. The Mustangs ranked 22nd in attendance averaging 1,124 fans. Cal Poly averaged 750 fans per dual last season.

This season marks the first time at least 25 schools broke an average of 1,000 fans per dual. There were 140 single duals that drew over 1,000 fans, up from 117 from last year. Fifteen schools drew over 1,000 fans for each of their home duals this season, up from 12 last year.

Forty schools in 2022-23 drew crowds of at least 1,000 fans, which is up from 2021-22, where 33 schools reported at least one home dual event drawing over 1,000. In 2019-20, 44 schools reported crowds over 1,000.

The NWMA, founded in 1989, is a professional organization of wrestling journalists, photographers, content creators, athletic communications professionals. The group assumed the responsibility of tracking of Division I wrestling attendance records in 2017. More information on the NWMA can be found at nationalwrestlingmedia.com. 

2022-23 NCAA Division I Wrestling Attendance Figures
Home Dual, Tri and Quad Events Only

RankSchoolAVGTOTALDates1K+Top DrawBest
1Iowa14858.7511887088Six Opponents14905
2Penn State9225.296457777Iowa15998
3Iowa State5287.433701277Illinois (B&B)8757
4Rutgers4294.802147455Penn State7848
5Oklahoma State4067.862847577Oklahoma6373
6Ohio State3849.712694877Penn State4585
7Virginia Tech3137.751255144NC State5943
8Northern Iowa2812.501687566Iowa State5754
10Michigan2700.331620266Ohio State7897
13NC State2327.601163855Pittsburgh3017
14Arizona State2150.401075254Cal Poly (B&B)3645
15Missouri2139.25855743Iowa State4819
16Oregon State2080.001248063Oklahoma State6764
17Army West Point1887.00377422Iowa1903
18Indiana1717.00858555Penn State2943
19Lehigh1497.20748655Arizona State1855
20Michigan State1439.60719851Michigan4900
21Pittsburgh1317.57922374Iowa State2162
22Cal Poly1224.20612154Michigan1482
23Oklahoma1221.40610751Oklahoma State3150
24South Dakota State1193.00835174Minnesota1603
25Utah Valley1053.25421342Northern Colorado1194
26Cornell985.00394040Wisconsin, Lehigh, Princeton, Penn985
27Rider952.60476351Penn State3229
29Lock Haven938.80469452Davidson1497
30West Virginia932.29652672Iowa State1494
32Northern Colorado788.86552270North Dakota State962
34Maryland779.50467762Ohio State1212
35Appalachian State779.33467661Quad (Campbell, Davidson, Presbyterian)1000
36North Carolina760.17456162NC State1362
39Wyoming711.00284440Northern Colorado827
41North Dakota State665.57465972Minnesota1156
42Northern Illinois635.00190531Buffalo (B&B)1043
44Navy611.00122220Lehigh, Binghamton611
45Central Michigan554.00277051Michigan State1003
47California Baptist470.40235250Tri (Cal Poly, Vanguard)878
48CSU Bakersfield418.20209150Michigan587
49Gardner-Webb392.86275070Appalachian State900
50Kent State376.50150641Clarion (B&B)1014
51Drexel362.40181250Army West Point489
52Bucknell345.63276580Oklahoma State864
54Sacred Heart326.57228670Bucknell425
55Little Rock324.67194860Stanford503
56Campbell318.43222970Quad (American, Central Michigan, CSU Bakersfield)557
57Air Force310.71217570North Dakota State351
58Cleveland State306.00183660Kent State498
60Franklin & Marshall275.00165060Millersville525
61American271.38217180Army West Point454
63Buffalo266.63213380Quad (Edinboro, Bucknell, Ohio)350
64Bloomsburg226.00158200Not AvailableN/A
65Ohio200.80100450Northern Illinois307
66LIU200.0060030Tri (Drexel, George Mason)250
67VMI185.71130070Southern Virginia325
68Clarion174.2087150Lock Haven325
70Queens117.0046840Belmont Abbey140
71Lindenwood0.00000No Home Events0
71George MasonDNT000NONE0
71SIU EdwardsvilleDNT000NONE0
71The CitadelDNT000NONE0

Asterisks & Caveats: Some schools ticketed for some events and not for others. For example, Navy ticketed for two events but not the others. Some schools provided numbers of counting fans despite not being ticketed, while others included only tickets sold and didn’t include free admission for students. 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.

Carvered: After selling out every single dual last season, Iowa drew 14,905 for six opponents: Iowa State, Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma State.

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.

Tracking it: Several schools that reported they didn’t track attendance in the past did provide numbers this year in some fashion – some even hand-counted. Schools that still don’t track attendance are Brown, Columbia, Davidson, George Mason, Duke, Harvard, SIU Edwardsville, Stanford and The Citadel. Lindenwood, which is transitioning from Division II to Division I, didn’t have any home duals this season. The 70 schools that responded or tracked attendance this season is an all-time high.Reporting attendance in some manner for the first time were: Appalachian State, Bellarmine, Campbell, Ohio and Queens. 

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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