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Penn State Football Ranks No. 2 Nationally In 2021 Attendance

Following a year without fans in the stands, Beaver Stadium’s crowds were back and as strong as ever in 2021.

Despite the Nittany Lions’ disappointing 7-5 season, Penn State football held the second-highest average attendance in the country in 2021, according to ADU.

Penn State averaged 106,799 fans in the stands across its seven home games, which finished behind only Michigan’s 108,763 fans per game, according to the report.

The Nittany Lions held a healthy lead over the third-highest average attendance of 98,720 by Alabama. Besides Penn State and Michigan, two other Big Ten teams — Ohio State (96,756, ranked No. 5) and Nebraska (86,173, ranked No. 10) — cracked the top 10 for average attendance.

The top 10 is dominated by Big Ten and SEC teams, as five SEC teams made the cut. In fact, the SEC and Big Ten rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among average attendance across all of FBS college football. The SEC, as a conference, averaged 72,392 fans per game per team, while the Big Ten had an average attendance of 64,785 fans.

The only non-Big Ten/SEC team in the report’s top 10 is Texas, which ranks No. 8 with an average attendance of 91,938 fans.

There are a lot of similar trends between the 2021 statistics and the last time we had full stadiums back in 2019. Both Michigan and Penn State ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in 2019, though, the gap has closed this time around. According to the National Football Foundation, the Wolverines averaged 111,459 fans in 2019, while the Nittany Lions had an average attendance of 105,678.

While the exact order differs, every team ranked in the top 10 for average attendance in 2021 has made the cut every year dating back to 2016.

Additionally, in 2019, the SEC and Big Ten were the top-two ranked conferences in terms of average attendance. It’s been that way ever since 2003, which is how far back the data is tracked on the NCAA’s website.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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