The NCAA’s women’s college volleyball match in the US between five-time NCAA champions Nebraska Huskers and the Omaha Mavericks has set the world record for in-stadia women’s sports attendance.
The 3-0 Nebraska victory in the Big Ten collegiate conference was attended by 92,003 fans at the Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, usually home to games in American football.
The crowd broke the previous world record for women's sports attendance – 91,648 on April 22, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain, for a Women's Champions League club soccer match between Barcelona and Wolfsburg.
The previous record for a women's sports event in the United States, meanwhile, was the 90,185 who turned up for the Women's World Cup soccer final between the US and China at the Rose Bowl venue in Pasadena, California, on July 10, 1999.
Nebraska player Andi Jackson said, of the new world record: "It's incredible; I don't have enough words to describe it.
"We were walking out of the tunnel after the second set, and we heard on the speaker we had just broken the world record. Everyone was trying to stay locked in, but we were also so excited. I can't describe how grateful I am to be a part of it."
Nebraska broke their own largest crowd record in NCAA women's volleyball, which was 18,755 for the national championship match between the Huskers and Wisconsin on December 18, 2021, at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Nebraska athletic director and former Huskers footballer Trev Alberts added: "There's a great business case and strategy around women's athletics long-term that maybe college athletics hasn't embraced.
"And we think here in Nebraska, long before I became the athletic director, we've significantly invested in women's athletics, and you're seeing the result of that by seeing the success of the volleyball program and the fan base surrounding it."
The news comes among an increase in viewership for women’s NCAA matches, with LSU’s 102-85 win over Iowa attracting a record audience for a women’s final on sports heavyweight network ESPN with almost 10 million viewers tuning in.
The viewership was up 103% from the South Carolina-UConn final on ESPN and ESPN2 last year (4.85 million) and marks easily the most-watched championship game in the history of the women’s tournament.
LSU’s win, which peaked with 12.6 million viewers, went well past the previous tournament record of 8.1 million for a Virginia-Stanford national semi-final on CBS in 1992.
Earlier this week, meanwhile, the Big Ten Network, run by Fox Sports alongside the US college sports conference, extended its partnership with Volleyball World, the commercial joint venture between the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and CVC Capital Partners.