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The 10 highest-attended spring games ever, still led by Ohio State, Ohio State, and Ohio State

Nebraska joins the list in 2018.

Ohio State’s spring crowd in 2016.
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In 2016, more people gathered to watch an Ohio State practice than there were in total attendance for every Akron home game from the year prior.

That’s a lot of people at a spring game, and it made the second time the Buckeyes broke their own record in the department.

Why does spring attendance matter?

It impresses recruits. Coaches and recruits say that. And it’s the primary thing for fans to argue about this time of year.

Here’s the all-time top 10 in spring attendance:

As far as I can tell, these are the 10 spring games to ever claim 80,000 or more in the seats — a list joined in 2018 by Nebraska, which sold out Memorial Stadium in about one day after hiring Scott Frost as head coach.

The 10 highest-attended spring games ever

Year School Announced attendance
Year School Announced attendance
2016 Ohio State 100,189
2015 Ohio State 99,391
2009 Ohio State 95,722
2016 Georgia 93,000
2011 Alabama 92,310
2007 Alabama 92,138
2010 Alabama 91,312
2018 Nebraska 86,818
2009 Alabama 84,050
2013 Auburn 83,401

It might look like 2016 Georgia rigged the numbers to land juuust enough ahead of Kirby Smart’s old boss and be able to claim the SEC record. There’s no way there were exactly 93,000 in the house. But photos did show people watching the game while spilling out onto stadium concourses, and it was hard to spot an empty seat, so it seems fine.

Penn State, Tennessee, and others often tend to come close to these totals. Spring-game attendance figures are hard or impossible to verify, and these are only announced numbers.