July 20, 2024

Kirk Ferentz not surprised by number of sellout games

Iowa Hawkeyes Football

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz watches his team warm up before final scrimmage of spring Saturday April 23, 2022 at Kinnick Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Hawkeyes have one of the most passionate fan bases in the country.

Around 70,000 of them pack Kinnick Stadium on Autumn Saturdays, making Iowa City the second-most populated town in the state. The venue even has its’ own tradition with the legendary Wave, that the fans, players and coaches take pride in. There’s nothing like that Kinnick aura.

Which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Hawkeyes have sold out all seven home games that’s on the schedule this year. It’s the first time the program has sold out every home game since 2011. Not to mention it’s arguably Iowa’s biggest home slate in years, with Iowa State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska all invading Kinnick Stadium.

The high demand for Iowa football reminds Ferentz that he’s doing a solid job with the culture.

After all, he’s the longest-tenured coach in the FBS, and has seen the die-hards ride with the program through the ups and downs. He knows Hawkeye loyalty is contagious.

The fans love everything about Iowa football, from the color of the helmets, to the blue-collar style of play on the gridiron. The brand is synonymous with discipline and physicality.

It’s no mystery Knnick Stadium is the house that Hayden Fry built. And the sellouts solidify his legacy is alive and well in today’s game.

“We’ve had some really good teams and I think we’re a fun team to watch,” Ferentz said.

The proof is in the pudding. Iowa has finished the season ranked in final AP Poll for four-straight seasons, and success brings interest. The Hawkeyes are also trending up in recruiting in recent years. And there’s nothing like hosting recruits on an official visit at Kinnick on gameday.

The foundation is as strong as it has ever been. Not only are the Hawkeyes winning games, but they’re going to good bowls, and annually churning their players into NFL Draft picks. The program has national credibility and everyone wants to be part of something special.

Winning makes fans happy, and happy fans spend more money on merchandise, television packages and travel.

“I’m glad to hear people want to be in Kinnick, we want them to be at Kinnick,” he said. “We want to be a fun place to come see a game.”

Night tilts and blackout contests at Kinnick are second to none. That’s usually when the crowd gets insane, and the players feed off the energy. Individuals in yellow and black everywhere, screaming at the top of their lungs, makes it a house of pain for visitors. The Hawkeyes have also won nine of their last 10 games at home. Ferentz is looking forward to his 2022 campaign, and grateful to have the support and appreciation of the fans.

“We have a head start because we have such a great venue,” the 66-year old coach said. “Part of that is us playing well too, at least that’s my history in football.”

Ferentz can’t deny the fact this going to be a highly-anticipated season for his program. Iowa hasn’t gone unscathed at home since 2015. Regardless, Ferentz feels good about this year’s version of the Hawkeyes, and knows as long as his team keeps winning, the more fans will believe and climb aboard.

“The better you play, the more interest there’s going to be.”