IOWA CITY — The dual between Iowa and Penn State a big crowd Friday.
The two national powers drew an even bigger one beyond Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Top-ranked Iowa’s 19-17 Big Ten Conference victory over No. 2 Penn State set a record as the most-watched wrestling telecast in BTN history, according to a news release Tuesday. The dual was also the highest-rated college sporting event on any network Friday.
The release noted the dual averaged 342,955 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The event also resulted in 802,574 minutes of online streaming on the FOX Sports App and 2.2 million minutes watched on social media.
“Wrestling is taking a bigger piece of the pie every year,” Iowa Coach Tom Brands said. “It’s kind of incremental.
“I think we’re up 67 percent, but I think some of that 67 percent being up is skewed by the huge numbers of Iowa and Penn State because our average is down in the 100-thousands.”
BTN has aired 12 wrestling duals this season. The average audience has been 116,043, an increase of 67 percent from a year ago.
Brands said coaches have asked for viewership numbers in postseason meetings, so the sport can receive the credit that it deserves. Wrestling is lumped in a category with many other sports that trail men’s basketball, which is a distant second to football.
“You talk about wrestling being a revenue sport at these places like Iowa, Penn State, Ohio State and the Big Ten?” Brands said. “The answer is we give you the budget to operate, but your gate isn’t covering your expenses. So, no it’s not, but wait a minute. What’s our credit for the Big Ten Network whatever 50-plus million dollars, what’s the credit we get for the numbers, the dollars? Put that into the equation and then see if we are in the black.”
“The answer is always like it’s just not significant enough. That’s too vague.”
Iowa’s dual at Michigan Saturday will be televised on BTN, beginning at 7 p.m.
Austin DeSanto injury update
Iowa’s Austin DeSanto is not listed in the probable lineup for the Saturday’s dual at 22nd-ranked Michigan. DeSanto injury defaulted after a knee injury in Friday's dual against Penn State.
Brands didn’t have an update immediately after the meet and not much more was available during the weekly media availability Tuesday.
“We’ll find out more,” Brands said. “Preliminary stuff is we won’t have to amputate.”
DeSanto did not accompany the Hawkeyes on their weekend road trip to face Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich. Senior Paul Glynn, who is expected to wrestle at Michigan, stepped in and won by decision Sunday.
“He’s handling it good,” Brands said of DeSanto. “He’s been in the room. He didn’t make the trip with us because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense, putting a guy in a bus for 14 hours with that type of thing. So, he’s handling it very well.”
Third-ranked DeSanto is 12-2, while Glynn is 4-2.
Michael Kemerer earns Big Ten honor
Iowa 174-pounder Michael Kemerer was named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week the conference announced Tuesday. Kemerer claimed the No. 1 spot in the trackwrestling.com and WIN Magazine national rankings after his 11-6 victory over Penn State NCAA champion and previously top-ranked Mark Hall on Friday.
Kemerer remained unbeaten and improved to 10-0 Sunday, recording a 13-3 major decision over Michigan State’s Layne Malczewski. He has earned the award three times in his career. Kemerer is the third Hawkeye to be honored, joining teammates DeSanto (Dec. 3) and Alex Marinelli (Jan. 3).
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