Attendance Annual
Average Page
Posted
1/15/10;
Updated
11/18/17

 




NU Home Game Annual Average Attendance
 
What follows is a year-by-year account of NU's historic average home attendance.

For a list of attendance records, click here.

 Home Game Annual Average Attendance,
1920 to Present



Year Avg. Att. Vs. YA Comments
1920 12,000 n/a Estimate (based on 3/4 games). ND game was overflow.
1921 10,750 -1,250 Estimate (based on 3/4 games)
1922 10,000 -750 Lowest post-WWI attendance. Only one Big Ten home game.
1923 17,625 7,625 Includes home game at Wrigley Field. Thistlethwaite's team turnaround is underway.
1924 18,333 708 Estimate (based on 5/6 games). Includes Soldier Field home game vs. Notre Dame.
1925 16,000 -2,333 Includes home games at Stagg and Soldier Fields. Highest-ever avg. for Northwestern Field games.
1926 32,833 16,833 DYCHE STADIUM OPENS. One game sold out.
1927 34,000 1,167 One game over 50K
1928 38,333 4,333 No game under 35K
1929 39,167 834 Oct. 5 double-header attendance counts as only one event. Two other games crack 50K.
1930 38,800 -367  
1931 36,400 -2,400 Attendance falls despite back-to-back Big Ten titles. Great Depression begins to affect attendance.
1932 27,000 -9,400 Weaker team vs. 1930-'31. NU does not host Illinois or Notre Dame. Depression continues to erode attendance.
1933 30,286 3,286 Includes two Soldier Field home games
1934 27,167 -3,119  
1935 27,200 33  
1936 34,469 7,269 Big Ten title run. First sold out game since 1930.
1937 35,167 698  
1938 38,417 3,250 Two sold out games
1939 40,000 1,583  
1940 42,600 2,600 Increased newspaper coverage of successful team
1941 40,833 -1,767  
1942 32,630 -8,203 World War II and a decline in team wins hit attendance.
1943 36,820 4,190 Graham is a featured draw
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 RYAN FIELD. 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 (64th.  NCAA figure differs from NU records)
2001 33,763 -474 NU ranked for much of first half of season (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 (73rd)
2004 28,408 -355
2005 32,527 4,119 (73rd)  Exciting '04 season and strong team led to gains in '05; increased marketing 
2006 27,996 -4,531 (80th) Fitzgerald's first season; began playing Div I-AA home games
2007 24,589 -3,407 (86th) Big Ten Network launched; all home games televised; none sell out
2008 28,590 4,001 (79th) OSU game sells out
2009 24,190 -4,400 (83rd) No sold out games.  Weak non-conf. sched.
2010 36,449 12,259 (68th) Includes Wrigley Field game.  Huge marketing push; four straight bowl-eligible seasons.
2011 33,442 -3,007 (70th) Sold out vs. Michigan.  But disappointing mid-season performance and Nov. non-conf. game led to drop.
2012 35,697 2,255 (65th) Sold out vs. Nebraska.  Good non-conf. slate; continued marketing push.
2013 39,307 3,610 (60th) Success in 2012, larger season ticket base, and continued marketing push.   All non-conf. games over 32K.
2014 38,613 -694 (59th) Season tix base remains high. Strong non-conf. attendance. 2014 attendance higher than Purdue's
2015 33,366 -5,247 (65th) 1st season without a sellout since 2009. No Nebraska game: Husker season tix at Ryan drop off. No OSU/Mich game.
2016 34,798 1,432 (64th) No sold out games. Relatively strong non-conf. attendance. Only 30K reported attendance for post-Thanksgiving Illinois game.
2017 35,853 1,055 Five B1G home games, only two non-conf. (both of which topped 33K). No sold out games.