Women’s college indoor volleyball continues to put up impressive numbers.
Sunday’s championship match between Wisconsin and Nebraska drew 1.19 million viewers — the most ever for college women’s volleyball on any ESPN network, up 71% from this past spring season and 119% from 2019.
The numbers support a thesis from the NCAA Gender Equity Review: Women’s championship rights are likely worth much more than the $34 million ESPN pays annually for 29 tournaments.
The report found that the Division I women’s basketball championship alone could be worth between $81 million and $112 million annually.
Lucrative At All Levels
Both investors and sponsors have begun to notice the potential of women’s volleyball — in college and beyond.
- The sport ranks in the top five for NIL earnings on Opendorse’s platform.
- Athletes Unlimited’s inaugural pro women’s indoor volleyball season featured major sponsors like Nike and Gatorade and reached a global television audience.
- In February, CVC invested a reported $300 million in the International Volleyball Federation.
In the spring, Athletes Unlimited CEO Jon Patricof told Front Office Sports the sport was “like a sleeping giant.” Looks like it’s waking up.