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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

ALBRIGHT: We need to keep giving women’s athletics the stage

It has been a banner year for women’s sports.

Historic events like the women’s basketball NCAA Tournament and Women’s World Cup helped create record attendance numbers, television viewership and advertising revenue, pushing women’s sports to new, deserved heights. Big names across all women’s athletics have popped up and the brand deals have not stopped flowing. Women’s sports has finally gotten the recognition it deserves.

And it all culminated last week in Lincoln, Nebraska for a women’s volleyball match between Nebraska and Omaha played in Memorial Stadium — where the Cornhuskers play football.

The game had been must-see since the day it was announced, with 80,000+ tickets being sold in just a few days. There was a buzz in the air for months and people knew what the game meant. It was more than a regular season, non-conference volleyball match: it was history.

What the event and this entire year has shown most of all, is that when you give women the stage, they deliver.

The game sold out and standing room was available courtside. With 92,003 total attendees, it marked not only a new stadium record but also became the largest crowd to witness a women’s sporting event. The entire stadium was a sea of red and people showed out to support the volleyball team.

On the day, Nebraska shut down the campus. All undergraduate classes happened virtually and most of the campus buildings and facilities were closed all day. Nebraska head coach John Cook said there have been three things to shut down campus: snow, COVID-19 and Nebraska volleyball inside the stadium.

Over three hours before the start of the match, fans wrapped around the stadium waiting to go inside.

Ticket prices for the game reached as much as $400 on the secondary market and, according to the Big Ten Network X page, 518,000 people tuned in to watch, the most-watched non-conference volleyball event in Big Ten Network history. It was also the second-highest regular season volleyball game audience across all networks.

Before “Volleyball Day in Nebraska,” the previous record for a women’s sports event was 91,648, set in April 2022, in Barcelona, Spain, for a Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Wolfsburg. In the United States, it was 90,185 for the Women’s World Cup Final between the United States and China in Pasadena, California in 1999.

A regular-season volleyball game shut down a school and trounced the attendance numbers for the Women’s World Cup, Champions League and every single Nebraska football game played inside Memorial Stadium in history.

So what does this prove?

That, above all else, we need to give more of these opportunities to more women in more sports.

Obviously, not every women’s collegiate sporting event will pull 90,000+ fans, but what was once viewed as impossible for women has been achieved. It’s no longer a select few men who play football and basketball who get to relish in the glory of tens of thousands of fans screaming their names, which is a good thing.

In October, Iowa women’s basketball is playing an exhibition match at Kinnick Stadium — where the Hawkeyes play football. So far, around 40,000 tickets have been sold. That is just for a preseason match.

Events like these cannot be one-offs. Women’s athletics needs to be prioritized more because when it is, everyone wins.

And that is what “Volleyball Day” showed the world.

This article was written by Jack Albright. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @JackAlbrightMU.

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About the Contributor
Jack Albright
Jack Albright, Assistant Sports Editor
Jack Albright is a junior from Charlton, Massachusetts studying journalism. He is an Assitant Sports Editor for the 2024-2025 school year. In his free time, Jack likes to hang out with friends and watch Formula 1. He is excited to write fun stories about all things Marquette athletics and oversee new types of digital content.

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