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Nebraska volleyball match gets more viewers than Nebraska football

Nebraska outside hitter Merritt Beason attacks against Wisconsin middle blocker Caroline Crawford during the Cornhuskers' five-set win. (Dylan Widger/USA TODAY Sports)

Nebraska volleyball is officially more popular than the football team.

As if filling out Memorial Stadium wasn’t enough, Cornhuskers volleyball’s upset over then-No. 1 ranked Wisconsin on Saturday averaged 612,000 viewers. The most-watched regular season volleyball match ever and the largest volleyball audience in Big Ten Network history, the match also beat out Nebraska football’s game against Northwestern.

The volleyball team beat the Badgers in five sets and took over the No. 1 ranking in the process. The match aired at 8 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.

The football game, which aired at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday on Big Ten Network, averaged just 560,000 viewers for the Huskers’ 17-9 win.

“Both teams delivered on the hype of an undefeated No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup with a thrilling five-set match,” Big Ten Network executive Michael Calderon said. “It was a tremendous introduction to Big Ten volleyball for any first-time viewers, who will undoubtedly be back to watch more Big Ten volleyball during the final five weeks of the season. We believe there is still plenty of room for more growth.”

It’s the first time that a volleyball match has exceeded 600,000 viewers on Big Ten Network. The previous high came on Black Friday of 2022, when 587,000 viewers who tuned in for the Nebraska-Wisconsin rivalry match.

Earlier this year, 518,000 viewers tuned in to watch Nebraska’s outdoor volleyball match in late August, which set the all-time attendance record for women’s sports.

Volleyball viewership is on the rise this season in the Big Ten, with the 142,000 average viewers — up 13% from 2022.