NU Home Attendance
Dramatically Increases in '18

Northwestern's average home attendance for 2018 was 43,873, an increase of 8,020 vs. last year. The average attendance was the highest since 1964, narrowly beating out Gary Barnett's champion seasons. 2018 was the eleventh highest-ever average attendance for NU, which is even more impressive because all of the top ten seasons were during the Dyche Stadium era, when the stadium had a higher capacity. Nationally, NU was 63rd last season in average attendance among FBS schools. Although the final rankings haven't yet been calculated for the 2018 season, I expect NU to rise to around 49th or 50th.

One factor driving the large swing in attendance was the Notre Dame game. To ensure tickets for the game, some fans bought season ticket sets, boosting season ticket sales. The Notre Dame game not only sold out, it is possibly the first home game in Northwestern's history for which the school sold no individual tickets. The Irish sellout was Northwestern's fourth at home in a row, a first for the university. The Wildcats did have four sold out games in Dyche during 1948, NU's Rose Bowl season, but those games were not in a row (a non-sold out home game vs. Syracuse was sandwiched in the middle).

Of course, the Wildcats' continued success is the other factor in 2018's increased attendance. Coming off another ten-win season and a bowl victory, NU was geared to make headlines and generate higher interest. Should the team perform well in Indianapolis and in its bowl game, NU should be able to sustain the current high paid attendance, even without the Notre Dame bump.