By the numbers, dual meets matter... at least to college wrestling fans.
According to 2013-14 attendance figures updated by wrestling historian Denny Diehl Tuesday, University of Iowa could claim the largest total number of fans its home duals… while Big Ten rival Penn State now owns the record for the most fans at a single wrestling event.
What's more, the majority of the top college programs saw greater attendance this year vs. last.
Iowa had a total of 61,843 fans in the stands for seven dual meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. What’s more, the Iowa City school became the first ever to host three duals in one season with at least 10,000 fans: 13,747 at the Dec. 21 dual vs. Penn State (arranged by Iowa head coach Tom Brands and Penn State’s Cael Sanderson on Twitter)… 10,141 vs. Oklahoma State on Jan. 10… and 10,588 vs. Minnesota on Jan. 25. The Hawkeyes averaged 8,835 fans at each home event, the highest average attendance among NCAA Division I wrestling programs for 2013-14.
In terms of total home attendance this season, Penn State was right behind Iowa, with 61,170, at eight dual meets. The Nittany Lions also placed second in terms of average dual-meet attendance, at 7,646. All but one PSU dual was held at venerable Rec Hall. The one exception: Sanderson's wrestlers took on Pittsburgh at the school’s newer, larger Bryce Jordan Arena, and drew 15,996 fans… not only breaking a previous Div. I dual record (15,955 for ISU at Iowa on Dec. 6, 2008), but also setting a new record for any sports event at that venue.
In his analysis, Diehl provides stats for the top 17 programs in terms of total season attendance and average dual-meet attendance, pointing out that 13 of the programs on the list improved their average dual attendance this season. In addition, Diehl also serves up a chart of some of the all-time record-setting dual meets. It’s fun to see how attendance has grown over the decades, starting with the long-standing record of 11,500 fans at Minnesota when it hosted Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa) in Jan. 1946. This one-time top-of-the-charts record now only ranks No. 42 overall.
Want to know more? Click here to see Denny Diehl's data on dual-meet attendance.
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