The impact of Nebraska women's volleyball record-setting game

September 1, 2023
The Nebraska women's volleyball team grabbed huge wins on and off the court this week.
Sports BusinessVolleyball

The GIST: The Nebraska women's volleyball team grabbed huge wins on and off the court this week. The Cornhuskers’ victory over Omaha in front of 92K fans at the school’s football stadium on Wednesday set a world record for women's sports attendance. We'll be keeping that Tunnel Walk, boys.

The context: This is only a shocker to those who haven't been paying attention — women's college volleyball has been on fire as of late, especially in Nebraska. The Cornhuskers squad has sold out 306 consecutive games (!!) spanning two decades, hence the demand to pack Memorial Stadium for the match.

The record: Nebraska volleyball drew in more fans than Champions League women's soccer (the previous record for a women’s sporting event), the USWNT in 1999, the average Super Bowl, and the largest NBA crowd. Husker Nation even beat out the Swifties with this major milestone. We’re all on the bleachers.

The impact: The demand for women’s volleyball is clearly there, and the Huskers are a shining example. From setting the previous NCAA volleyball record to leading the nation in attendance since 2013, the program’s excellence has created a strong fan culture that even saw classes canceled for this week’s event.

  • The game’s success also has implications for television scheduling. Nebraska is part of the Big Ten conference, which just signed a multiyear agreement with DirecTV. Conference execs have reportedly been keeping tabs on Cornhuskers volleyball viewership, which could mean more time slots for the women’s game.
  • Plus, some Huskers stars are already seeing results after the historic game. Nebraska libero Lexi Rodriguez signed an NIL deal with Adidas yesterday and will participate in marketing campaigns for the sportswear brand.

Zooming out: As college volleyball continues to grow, it’s time for pro volleyball to grow along with it. The current pipeline only offers a few options to play after graduation, like Athletes Unlimited Volleyball or beach volleyball’s Association of Volleyball Professionals.

  • However, new pro leagues are on the horizon, and they will hopefully be able to capitalize on college volleyball’s rising popularity. The future is bright like it's made of starlight.