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Fewer people tuned in to watch Iowa football in 2022 than in 2021, according to TV ratings data aggregated by Sports Media Watch and analyzed by The Gazette.
Excluding postseason games and games not nationally televised, Iowa’s viewership dropped from about 2.06 million viewers per game in 2021 to 1.61 million to 2022.
Those figures exclude the 2022 Iowa State game and 2021 Kent State game, which were only available in a portion of the Big Ten Network viewing area.
The 2022 Cy-Hawk battle shared the time slot and network with Michigan State-Akron, Purdue-Indiana State and Rutgers-Wagner. The 2021 Iowa-Kent State game shared the time slot and network with the Rutgers-Delaware game.
The gap between the last two seasons widens when factoring Iowa’s 2021 Big Ten championship game appearance, which drew 11.66 million viewers.
The lower viewership is not a surprise considering the differing trajectories of the 2021 and 2022 Hawkeyes.
The 2021 team rose as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press poll and, despite a turbulent few weeks, won the Big Ten West. The 2022 team has not earned a spot in the AP Poll at any point this season.
Iowa’s games against Illinois and Minnesota had more attention in 2022 than in 2021, but the opposite was true for games against Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin and Iowa State.
Purdue and Iowa State were a few of the starkest examples.
The 2021 Purdue game — on ABC and featuring the then-No. 2 Hawkeyes — drew about 3.45 million viewers, again according to Sports Media Watch. The 2022 game — on FS1 and featuring two unranked teams — had about 582,000 viewers.
The 2021 Iowa State game — on ABC, featuring two Top 10 teams and having the benefit of ESPN’s College GameDay promoting it — had 3.89 million viewers. Big Ten Network had 1.47 million viewers from the quartet of Week 2 games in 2022 that included Iowa-Iowa State.
Bowl likely to draw TV viewers, regardless of location
Regardless of location, recent history suggests Iowa’s bowl game should have good viewership.
Iowa’s three most likely bowl destinations — Music City, Pinstripe or Duke’s Mayo — all had more than 2 million viewers in 2021, according to Sports Media Watch.
The Music City Bowl had 5.594 million viewers, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl had 2.597 million viewers and the Pinstripe Bowl had 2.44 million viewers.
The most-watched men’s basketball game in Big Ten Network history — last year’s Wisconsin-Michigan State game in the conference quarterfinals — in comparison, had 1.19 million viewers.