As of this week, it's official: Iowa football has sold out.
Wait, not like that. (Although Gary Barta is ready and waiting to listen to any and all offers from potential corporate partners...)
No, Iowa football has officially sold out of 2022 football tickets.
That's right: if you were hoping to attend an Iowa football game at Kinnick Stadium this year and you didn't already purchase tickets, well, it looks like you might need to turn to the secondary market to satisfy those needs. The Iowa ticket office likely isn't going to be able to help you.
This is the first time that Iowa has sold out its entire home slate in over a decade -- since 2011, to be precise. (You don't need to go back and look at what happened that season, I promise.) The hottest ticket games -- Michigan on 10/1 and Iowa State on 9/10 -- sold out first and it certainly hasn't been uncommon for Iowa to sell out of some games each season. But Iowa also sold out the non-conference games against Nevada (the only scheduled night game at Kinnick Stadium this year, as of now at least) and South Dakota State (the season opener), as well as the other three conference games against Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. That's the whole dang schedule.
Early sellouts like this certainly suggest that there's a lot of interest -- and excitement -- from the fanbase for Iowa football this fall. There are plenty of good reasons for that to be the case, too. Iowa is coming off a Big Ten West championship and a 10-win regular season, its best regular season showing since 2015. Unfortunately, like 2015, the final two games of the year -- the Big Ten Championship Game and the Citrus Bowl -- didn't exactly go as hoped. But those late season failures don't seem to have dulled Iowa fans' interest in this season.
This home schedule is also the best slate that Iowa has had in several years:
|9/3/22||South Dakota State||11:00 AM||FS1|
|9/10/22||Iowa State||3:00 PM||BTN|
As noted before, the hottest tickets here are Iowa State and Michigan, two opponents who haven't visited Iowa City for a while. Thanks to the COVID cancellations of 2020, Iowa State hasn't been to Kinnick since 2018. Michigan hasn't been in Iowa City since 2016, which was certainly a very memorable game.
The schedule also includes visits from two hated border rivals (Wisconsin and Nebraska) as well as a persistent nuisance foe in Northwestern. Nevada may not be the most enticing opponent in their own right, but designating the game an evening kickoff certainly added some juice to the proceedings. FCS opponents also don't typically move the needle a lot in terms of attendance -- although a local foe like South Dakota State (or UNI) is always going to provide more of a ticket boost, since Iowa City is an easy road trip for those visiting fans.
But as exciting as the opponents on the schedule might look, this schedule isn't selling out unless Iowa fans are actually excited about this team and think they can actually win a lot of those games. Iowa should (again) have a very stout defense, with a host of standout players and returning starters in the front seven as well as some key figures in the secondary. The offense was a persistent pain point last season and there's no doubt a healthy skepticism among Iowa fans about how well that unit can perform this year -- but that doesn't seem to be dulling the buzz among Iowa fans too much.
I want to hear from you too -- I've gone ahead and created a poll about fan excitement for this season, so let me know how you're feeling about Iowa heading into the 2022 season.
Either way, we're just four weekends away from Iowa football returning to our lives. And when it does, it's going to do so in front of sellout home crowds from September through November. Go Iowa Awesome.