#IowaSim19 – How a video game is raising money for Stead Family Children’s Hospital

Cody Hills started live tweeting his virtual Hawkeyes in 2013. This year, IowaSim raised over $1000 for Stead Family Children’s Hospital.


Ryan Adams

Photo Illustration by Ryan Adams

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

A group of Hawkeye fans discovered how to bring the spirit of the Wave online —by using a weekly simulated football game to raise money for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

A lifelong Hawkeye fan, Cody Hills began live tweeting his simulated Hawkeye matchups in 2013. He set up an Iowa game in NCAA Football 14 and updates his tweets with any cool clips and highlights.

Hills tries to simulate the conditions of the football game as accurately as possible, from the depth chart to the uniforms and the weather. 

Hills says the sim is usually accurate in predicting the outcome of the game. Out of 73 simulations, 60 have accurately predicted the winner. 

He said the sim has a cult-like following because of its accuracy. The live-tweeted game began to take off in 2015 when the sim correctly predicted the Hawkeyes’ undefeated season. 

“That kind of got some steam rolling behind it, and people believe it has magical powers. It’s just been really fun,” Hills said. “People interacting with it online, seeing how close it is to the real thing – we call it a living, breathing thing sometimes.” 

Viewership can vary by game. The simulated matchup between Iowa and Iowa State drew 67,000 views, which Hills said is more than can fit inside Jack Trice Stadium to watch the actual game. 

In previous seasons, the game was sponsored by friends of Hills looking to promote their business ventures. This season, Joe Brookover and Pete Seitbert came to Hills looking to promote their Hawkeye sports podcast. 

While Hills had accepted previous sponsorships in exchange for a gift certificate or free tshirt, the podcast didn’t have any merchandise to hand out. Instead, they made a donation to Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

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Brookover said as soon as Hills announced his sponsorship of the sim, he received more offers to sponsor the sim in exchange for a donation in less than an hour — and the donations have kept coming. 

Three games into the season, the sim has raised more than $1,200 for Stead Children’s Hospital.

Brookover said the generosity of Hawkeye fans comes as no surprise to him. 

“This is something that people are really attracted to … It really shouldn’t be that big of a surprise considering the generosity of Iowans and the whole background behind the wave and how organically it came about,” he said. “That is certainly something that’s been really fun to see grow and evolve.”

Brookover and Seitbart’s podcast, “Stuff N’ Things,” has gained some traction from the sponsorship, but they both say they have no plans to get rich off of the show. 

“It’s definitely helped some notoriety … We’re definitely more invested in raising money [for Stead] at this point now and doing what we can to help,” Seitbart said. 

Hills said he hopes to get the Sim running as a livestream on YouTube or Twitch in future seasons. 

Although Hills said there is some pressure to top this year’s sim, he has no plans of stopping any time soon. 

“I think it just goes to show that the people of Iowa and Hawkeyes everywhere just want to help other people out,” he said. “The fact that I can help in some small way and be a part of that, I’m just blessed to be able to.” 

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