Iowa attracted 14,905 fans against Penn State (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
In the previous 13 years, the University of Iowa's wrestling program led the nation in home attendance. One thing it hadn't done, though, was put over 10,000 fans into Carver-Hawkeye Arena for every dual in a season.
That changed in 2019-20 as the Hawkeyes averaged a record 12,568.4 with seven home dates for a total of 87,979. It's not the largest total Iowa's ever produced, but the 87,979 is the largest total attendance for events solely at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The top crowd in Carver-Hawkeye was the 14,905 against Penn State.
Penn State, which has sold out 55 straight duals in Rec Hall and 61 of the last 63 duals including its action in the Bryce Jordan Center, comes in second for the 10th straight season. With the 15,995 at the Bryce Jordan Center against Ohio State, Penn State's average came in at 7,604.1, approximately 1,200 more than what the capacity is at Rec Hall.
Iowa State checked in third with an average of 4,794.6, which jumped the Cyclones to its highest attendance ranking since 2010 when they Cyclones averaged just north of 4,500 a dual. The 2019-20 home schedule was anchored by the CyHawk dual with Iowa, which drew 11,238, the 10th largest dual in Hilton Coliseum history.
Rutgers set a school record for the number of wrestling season tickets sold this season and their home attendance showed through. The Scarlet Knights finished fourth, with an average of 4,155.9 fans in seven home dates.
The opening of the Covelli Center gave Ohio State an engaging and intimate home mat experience. The Buckeyes averaged 4,117.5 fans in eight home dates. It's the sixth straight year Tom Ryan's squad has been ranked in the top five.
Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Arizona State, Fresno State and Lehigh rounded out the Top 10.
The 2019-20 numbers tied a record for most schools reporting an average of 1,000 fans per match, tying last year's mark of 24. There were 14 more schools that exceeded averages of 700 per dual, where last year, there were just seven.
Of the Top 25 teams, 15 saw increases in average attendance from last season. The largest average increase was Iowa, which jumped 4,042.1, while Iowa State improved by 1,224.9 and Arizona State, which grew 1,161.5.
Princeton and North Carolina also tracked attendance for the first time this year.
Notes: The NCAA Division I wrestling attendance figures have been tracked by several members of the media since 2002. Denny Diehl of Roby Publishing started the process, while Alex Steen of The Open Mat and Jason Bryant of Mat Talk Online have also taken hold of the project. The numbers are collected in various ways, including official ticket counts. Some schools have less home dates reported as they held events that were not ticketed.
Of the 79 Division I institutions in 2019-20, 59 reported numbers. Davidson was unable to complete its reporting, while Clarion's information was incomplete. There were 18 schools that did not track wrestling home attendance this year. By comparison, last season noted 17 schools not tracking attendance and five more schools that did not respond to attendance inquiries.