In 2022, Iowa Lost Often, Viewership Was Down
After a 10-win regular season and a Big Ten Championship berth and loss, along with a bowl loss at the end of the season in 2021 for the Iowa Hawkeyes, what followed was a much more tumultuous year in 2022.
Questions at quarterback (fair or not) were leveled all season long on the almost-unanimously considered unfit for his job offensive coordinator, Brian Ferentz. Since the end of the regular season, Iowa has lost at least two of its would-be major players to the transfer portal. We'll never know what might have been with the beloved backup quarterback Alex Padilla because he's gone, as is a top wide receiver who just announced his entrance into the transfer portal. Iowa then gained a big star under center but since this writing lost another receiver and running back.
These puzzle pieces will continue to come and go through the transfer portal, but the next in a not-so-surprising string of events is that fans are voicing their displeasure with the team with their remotes. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, television ratings of Iowa football games were down this season compared to last.
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 numbers do not take into account the 2021 Kent State game, which had limited availability for viewership in the Big Ten Network area, and for the same reason, the 2022 Cy-Hawk game, the annual rivalry contest against Iowa State, who in their own right had a rare down year in the Matt Campbell era.
Business picked up a little with the Illinois and Minnesota games which outdid last year's numbers, but the final game (and perhaps straw) was the loss to Nebraska on Black Friday.
I'm never one to kick a man (or men) when they're down. But there's a fine line between fan loyalty and self-inflicted misery and while some sat through the pain as the Hawkeyes kept losing, without making the changes most of their fan base was demanding from the mountaintops, most others simply reacted with a click. Here's where the biggest ratings drops ensued:
- Purdue: Iowa played them as the #2 team in the country in 2021, garnering 3.45 million viewers. That game in 2022 had just over a half-million viewers
- Iowa State: 3.89 million viewers (and ESPN Gameday coverage in 2021, vs. 1.47 million in 2022.
Iowa is likely bowl bound whether they deserve it or not, and we will find out what game we will be watching them in (partially or in full depending on how they play) this Sunday.