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  • Writer's pictureRiley Day

Rising Viewership of Women’s Sports Means Now is the Time to Invest in Women’s Pro Volleyball

By: Riley Day

March 26, 2024


Photo Credit: New York Times

Last fall, over 92,000 people packed into Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska to watch the Cornhuskers defeat Omaha in straight sets in women’s volleyball. NCAA volleyball has continued to grow steadily over the past few years. According to Just Women's Sports nearly 1.2M viewers tuned in to watch Wisconsin defeat Nebraska on ESPN2 in the NCAA Volleyball Championship, which, at the time, became the most-watched match ever on ESPN’s networks. The record was quickly broken by the 2023 NCAA Championship as defending champs Texas beat Nebraska with 1.7M viewers watching, according to Deadline. Nielsen data reported that female viewership was up 151% from the 2022 final, and female viewers made up 51% of the total audience. Furthermore, viewership for nearly every women’s sporting event was up last year.


Fox saw record ratings during the entirety of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, including the most-watched group stage game ever with 6.4 million people watching the U.S. draw with the Netherlands. In April, the NCAA women’s basketball championship delivered nearly 10 million viewers! This was a 103% increase compared to the 2022 championship; the game also had the largest audience ever for any college event streamed on ESPN+.


With viewership of women’s sports on the rise, including NCAA women’s volleyball, now is the perfect time to invest in professional volleyball. According to LOVB.com, Volleyball is one of the most popular high school sports for girls. There are now three women’s professional leagues in North America: Athletes Unlimited (AU), the Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF), and now League One Volleyball (LOVB), which launched this year.


National Girls and Women in Sports Day, an annual celebration on the first Wednesday of every February, was originally established in remembrance of American Olympic Volleyball player Flo Hyman, who passed away suddenly while competing in a tournament in 1986. According to volleyball.org, she was the most famous volleyball player of all time, not just in the US but worldwide. Ever since, “National Girls and Women in Sports Day has evolved into a multifaceted day dedicated to acknowledging women’s history in sports, celebrating current achievements, and recommitting to the continued fight for equality.”


An article published by 1011now.com last month described the successful inaugural PVF match between the Omaha Supernovas and the Atlanta Vibe. Attendance was 11,642, the largest crowd to watch a professional volleyball match in the U.S. The PVF was announced in November of 2022 as a new professional women’s league that focused on giving American players access to high level volleyball at home while also making a live-able wage. The founders of the league include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer along with volleyball pioneers Cecile Reynaud and Laurie Corbelli. Celebrities have also entered ownership groups, such as Jason Derulo with the Omaha Supernovas and Joe Burrow with the Columbus Fury. 


Athletics Unlimited Volleyball is an innovative league where players are not committed to one team. Rather, they switch teams every week of the season, and the players who earned the most points each week become captains for the next week and form new teams. 


League One Volleyball (LOVB), set to launch in November of 2024, is the largest club community in the United States. Its focus is to create a vibrant community for the sport and champion every athlete who plays it in unprecedented ways. According to the official website, LOVB is a “holistic ecosystem, from club to pro.” It is a one-of-a-kind community reimagining the future of volleyball. The league champions every stage of an athlete’s journey and “nurtures youthful passion into action, celebrating fierce and unbridled professional talent.” They are attempting to market themselves from the grassroots up, building a foundation of junior clubs led by the world’s best professional players. To sum it up, the LOVB website says it best: “this is just the beginning, the future is LOVB.”

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