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Penn State-Auburn Was Almost America’s Most-Attended Post-Pandemic Sporting Event

Beaver Stadium didn’t crack any attendance records this weekend, but that’s not to say Penn State fans didn’t make a little history, either.

A White Out crowd of 109,958 fans packed the stadium’s bleachers as the then-No. 10 Nittany Lions defeated No. 22 Auburn 28-20. The game resulted in Beaver Stadium’s 10th-largest crowd of all time.

Although somewhat tame by Penn State’s lofty standards, Saturday’s Beaver Stadium crowd appears to be the largest post-pandemic crowd in college football, plus other American sports like the NFL or MLB. The closest trailing behind looks like Michigan’s home opener against Western Michigan, which featured 109,295 fans, per ESPN. Michigan Stadium ranks above only Beaver Stadium in total capacity.

Beaver Stadium’s crowd loses out on being America’s most-attended post-pandemic sporting event thanks to the Indy 500. The annual race drew a crowd of about 135,000 this year — a number that’s ironically dwarfed by the venue’s full capacity of more than 300,000. Capacity was kept to about 40% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While you attempt to vault through the mental gymnastics of denying racing as a sport to give Beaver Stadium the attendance title, remember that we’re lucky to have had any fans at all. Penn State fans were treated to the greatest show in sports this weekend, and we’ll happily take second place while remembering how much we missed in-person sports just one year ago.

Editor’s note: We’re using “post-pandemic” lightly. It’s obviously not over, and everyone should continue taking steps to look out for themselves and others. Still, fans are back where they belong, and vaccines are available. We’re getting there!

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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