“The profile of women’s athletics in the Big Ten Conference is at an all-time high, with some of the biggest names and brands anywhere in sports,” said Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti. “The collaboration between our staff, our schools, and our broadcast partners has been critical in elevating the platform we provide. With the introduction of strategic scheduling principles overseen by Chief Operating Officer Kerry Kenny and Senior Director Television Administration Grace McNamara, the future of Big Ten women’s sports has never been brighter.”
Sunday’s match was the first Big Ten volleyball match to air on broadcast television and it broke the previous record of 1.20 million that was set in the 2021 NCAA Championship between Wisconsin and Nebraska, which aired on ESPN2. It also topped the previous regular season high, the Nebraska-Wisconsin match a week prior on the Big Ten Network, by more than 1 million viewers (612,000).
“How many times have we seen when you give opportunities to elite women’s sports that they show up?” Gophers coach Keegan Cook said. “You have to have opportunity in order to meet opportunity … elated to see the response.”
On Sunday, Minnesota and Wisconsin drew in more viewers than Formula One racing on ABC, more than the Premier League on NBC, they topped the Sunday morning Sports Center and NFL Countdown on ESPN. They beat the NBA and NHL. In the age 18-49 demographic, the only league that drew in more viewers was the NFL. The match would have been the 12th-most viewed college football game of the week.
“Every time we’ve given women’s athletics a bigger stage, it’s delivered,” Cook said. “The Big Ten Network has been a leader in this space of promoting women’s volleyball and FOX stepping up this past weekend is a big deal. I’m looking forward to more of that to come.”