The University of Wisconsin volleyball team now has three of the most watched games ever.
The first-ever volleyball match that aired on Fox Sunday night drew the largest viewership in the sport’s history.
The Border Battle between No. 2 Wisconsin and Minnesota wasn’t much of a game — the Badgers won 3-0 — but it drew 1.66 million viewers.
It’s becoming a growing trend, as women’s sports gets the recognition and the platforms it deserves to allow fans to watch — both at home and in person.
Sunday’s match surpassed the previous record, when the Badgers beat Nebraska 3-2 for the 2021 National Championship that aired on ESPN and had 1.2 million views.
Up until Sunday night, those two teams also had the most viewed regular-season match, when the top-ranked Badgers fell to No. 2 Nebraska 3-2 two weekends ago, which drew 612,000 views on the Big Ten Network.
Of course, the Badgers win over the Gophers now makes that game the second-most watched regular-season match.
The popularity of women’s sports is finally getting a foothold on a national stage. Back in August, Nebraska volleyball hosted a match outdoors at the “football” stadium, which saw a record-breaking 92,0003 fans show up. That was the largest crowd at a women’s event in world history.
It also broke another record the Badgers had for largest crowd at an NCAA volleyball match. Nebraska and Wisconsin — again — set that record with 18,755 fans in that 2021 National Title match. The Badgers also had the largest regular-season game until Nebraska played outdoors, with 16,833 fans at the Kohl Center against Florida in 2022.
The Badgers (20-1, 11-1) next game is Wednesday against 19th-ranked Purdue (14-7, 8-4).