The Iowa Hawkeyes are reaping the rewards of their 2023 national championship appearance.
In April, Iowa reached its first Final Four since 1993 and advanced to the national title game before falling to LSU. The program’s success and the growing celebrity of National Player of the Year Caitlin Clark have made the team must-see sports in Iowa City.
Season tickets for the 2023-24 season have sold out for the first time in program history, the team announced this week. Previously, the Hawkeyes had sold out just three games in their history, but the 2023 NCAA Tournament run stirred up increased interest in the program.
Clark averaged 27.8 points, 8.6 assists and 7.1 rebounds per contest last year and is back for her senior season.
Immediately after the NCAA Tournament, Iowa’s athletic department had to pause season ticket sales because of unprecedented demand. Sales included 6,500 existing season tickets, and deposits were put down for 6,700 more.
15,000 strong, all season long 💪Season tickets are 𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭!#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/r3LDkt40im— Iowa Women's Basketball (@IowaWBB) August 14, 2023
15,000 strong, all season long 💪Season tickets are 𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐮𝐭!#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/r3LDkt40im
In an effort to accommodate the growing demand, the women’s basketball team will play an exhibition game against DePaul on Oct. 15 at Kinnick Stadium, the home of Iowa’s football team. The stadium is the 28th largest college-owned football stadium in the country, with a seating capacity of 69,250 people.
This puts Iowa in position to break the NCAA women’s basketball attendance record. The previous mark of 29,619 fans was set during the 2002 national championship game between UConn and Oklahoma. The Huskies went 39-0 that season, with Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Swin Cash all on the roster.
“I know if anyone can (break the record), Hawkeye fans can and will,” coach Lisa Bluder told reporters last week.
The Hawkeyes were second in attendance last season after South Carolina, with an average of 11,143 fans packing Carver Hawkeye Arena for every game.
The increased interest in Iowa women’s basketball comes with high expectations. The Hawkeyes return three starters from last season in Gabbie Marshall, Kate Martin and Clark.
Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.