Attendance
Page Posted
1/15/10;
Updated
11/24/13

 




NU Home Game Yearly Attendance
and Attendance Records
 
What follows is a year-by-year account of NU's modern-era average attendance at Dyche Stadium / Ryan Field, as well as a list of some of the largest crowds ever at the stadium and a list of sold out games since 1974.

 


Dyche Stadium / Ryan Field Annual Average Attendance,
1942 to Present


Year Avg. Att. Vs. YA Comments
1942 32,630 n/a
1943 36,820 4,190
1944 31,939 -4,881
1945 39,362 7,423 First postwar season
1946 40,566 1,204
1947 44,819 4,253
1948 45,362 543
1949 46,744 1,382 First year with south side enclosure; no sig. change in attendance
1950 47,828 1,084
1951 45,471 -2,357
1952 34,862 -10,609 Two-win season; Vanderbilt only non-conf. home game
1953 40,766 5,904 Included 51K game vs. Illinois
1954 34,795 -5,971 Voigts's last season
1955 33,234 -1,561
1956 36,788 3,554
1957 38,066 1,278
1958 36,665 -1,401
1959 47,204 10,539 Parseghian's team ranked AP #2
1960 50,641 3,437 Only season in NU history to average over 50K.  Only four home games, including Notre Dame
1961 40,305 -10,336 Returned to five home games.  Boston Col. only home non-conf. 
1962 46,929 6,624 Only four home games.  Notre Dame game sets Dyche attendance record (55,752).  NU ranked AP #1
1963 45,224 -1,705
1964 45,011 -213 Agase's first season
1965 39,625 -5,386 Seven home games, up from four.  2nd straight losing season
1966 42,122 2,497
1967 37,107 -5,015
1968 38,771 1,664
1969 34,785 -3,986
1970 37,177 2,392
1971 35,294 -1,883
1972 37,604 2,310
1973 25,703 -11,901 Pont's first season; beginning of Dark Ages
1974 34,765 9,062 Notre Dame home game boosted average…
1975 23,037 -11,728 …but NU continues to slide
1976 25,755 2,718
1977 20,064 -5,691 Pont's last season.
1978 19,862 -202
1979 20,220 358
1980 19,755 -465 Venturi's last season; worst NU attendance in modern history
1981 24,370 4,615 Green's first season; NU sets losing streak record
1982 25,937 1,567
1983 31,910 5,973 Illinois game sells out with over 50K
1984 30,022 -1,888
1985 32,040 2,018
1986 27,350 -4,690 Peay's first season: attendance drops w/ Green's departure
1987 28,870 1,520
1988 28,006 -864
1989 29,018 1,012
1990 28,062 -956
1991 27,038 -1,024
1992 32,989 5,951 Barnett's first season
1993 30,965 -2,024
1994 34,382 3,417
1995 38,230 3,848 NU begins selling out in second half of season
1996 42,310 4,080 Best attendance since '64 on heels of Big Ten title
1997 41,868 -442 Stadium renovation and seat reduction have no sig. effect on attendance.  Largest season tix base since early '60s
1998 40,907 -961 (Ranked 47th Div IA attendance)
1999 30,890 -10,017 Walker's first season. (attendance 67th.  NCAA figure differs from NU records).  1998: winless in Big Ten, negative program publicity.
2000 34,237 3,347 Despite good record, NU only sells out Michigan game (attendance 64th.  NCAA figure differs from NU records)
2001 33,763 -474 NU ranked for much of first half of season (attendance 63rd nationally)
2002 28,032 -5,731 NU's collapse in the 2nd half of 2001 led to lower attendance in '02
2003 28,763 731 (attendance 73rd)
2004 28,408 -355
2005 32,527 4,119 (attendance 73rd)  Exciting '04 season and strong team led to gains in '05; increased marketing 
2006 27,996 -4,531 (attendance 80th) Fitzgerald's first season; began playing Div I-AA home games
2007 24,589 -3,407 (attendance 86th) Big Ten Network launched; all home games televised; none sell out
2008 28,590 4,001 (attendance 79th) OSU game sells out
2009 24,190 -4,400 (attendance 83rd) No sold out games.  Weak non-conf. sched.
2010 36,449 12,259 (attendance 68th) Includes Wrigley Field game.  Huge marketing push; four straight bowl-eligible seasons.
2011 33,442 -3,007 (attendance 70th) Sold out vs. Michigan.  But disappointing mid-season performance and Nov. non-conf. game led to drop.
2012 35,697 2,255 (attendance 65th) Sold out vs. Nebraska.  Good non-conf. slate; continued marketing push.
2013 39,307 3,610 Success in 2012, larger season ticket base, and continued marketing push.   All non-conf. games over 32K.

Dyche Stadium / Ryan Field Largest Crowds
and Recent Sold Out Games

Largest Crowds: Here are some of the largest crowds at Dyche Stadium:

1.   55,752 -- 1962 vs. Notre Dame (on campus home record)
2.   55,682 -- 1960 vs. Notre Dame
3.   55,356 -- 1966 vs. Notre Dame
4.   55,282 -- 1959 vs. Wisconsin
5.   55,155 -- 1972 vs. Notre Dame
6.   54,821 -- 1949 vs. Michigan
7.   54,301 -- 1974 vs. Notre Dame*
8.   52,333 -- 1983 vs. Illinois (last game ever at Dyche Stadium with over 50,000)
9.   52,062 -- 1964 vs. Illinois
10.   52,000 -- 1951 vs. Illinois
11.  51,782 -- 1960 vs. Illinois
12.  51,102 -- 1958 vs. Ohio State
13.  51,039 -- 1953 vs. Illinois
14.  51,028 -- 1964 vs. Wisconsin
15.  51,000 -- 1949 vs. Wisconsin
16.  50,813 -- 1959 vs. Oklahoma
17.  50,049 -- 1970 vs. Notre Dame
18.  50,000 -- 1951 vs. Wisconsin
19.  c50,000 -- 1929 vs. Notre Dame


There were several other games at Dyche that topped 50,000.   

*1974 Notre Dame game
attendance is given as 50,290 in some NU sources and c55,000 in Notre Dame sources.

The largest crowd for Ryan Field is 47,330.

Here is a list of every home game sellout since 1974 (off-campus in italics):

  • 1974 vs. Notre Dame (54,301)
  • 1983 vs. Illinois (52,333)
  • 1994 vs. Notre Dame (66,946.  Home game played at Soldier Field)
  • 1995 vs. Wisconsin (49,256)
  • 1995 vs. Penn St. (49,256)
  • 1995 vs. Iowa (49,256)
  • 1996 vs. Michigan (48,187)
  • 1996 vs. Illinois (48,187)
  • 1997 vs. Wisconsin (47,129.  1st sellout at Ryan Field)
  • 1997 vs. Michigan St. (47,129)
  • 1997 vs. Penn St. (47,129)
  • 1998 vs. Michigan (47,129)
  • 1998 vs. Ohio State (47,129)
  • 2000 vs. Michigan (47,130)
  • 2004 vs. Ohio State (47,130)
  • 2005 vs. Michigan (47,130)
  • 2006 vs. Ohio State (47,130)
  • 2008 vs. Ohio State (47,130)
  • 2010 vs. Iowa (47,130)
  • 2010 vs. Illinois (41,058.  Home game played at Wrigley Field)
  • 2011 vs. Michigan (47,330)
  • 2012 vs. Nebraska (47,330)
  • 2013 vs. Ohio State (47,330)
  • 2013 vs. Michigan (47,330)

The 1992 home game vs. Notre Dame at Soldier Field, while a large crowd, was not a sellout. 

Also, the 1991 home game vs. Ohio State at Cleveland Stadium was not sold out.  However, the game's attendance, 73,830, does make it technically the largest attendance for a Northwestern home game, on or off campus.