The Pro Volleyball Federation has signed its first media deal, bringing televised professional volleyball games to CBS Sports. 

CBS Sports is the first media organization to partner with the PVF, and the deal likely includes domestic and international rights. According to Sportico, the deal includes a minimum of 10 matches to be aired in 2024 along with the league semifinals and championship games. 

“This is another groundbreaking day in the history of Pro Volleyball Federation,” PVF co-founder Dave Whinham told Sportico. “We have a great partner that believes in the growth of women’s professional volleyball in North America. We are very proud of this relationship and excited about the dynamic new ways we will be able to present our matches within the CBS Sports platform.”

The PVF started in 2022 and includes seven teams with plans to expand next season. The existing teams are the Atlanta Vibe, Columbus Fury, Vegas Thrill, Grand Rapids Rise, Omaha Supernovas, Orlando Valkryies and San Diego Mojo, and the league will introduce teams in Kansas City, Dallas and Indianapolis in 2025.

“[Volleyball] is the only team sport in the world where the women’s version doesn’t take a backseat to the men’s version,” said Stephen Evans, one of the founders of the PVF. “And most people will tell you that the women’s version is more fun to watch and attend. It’s not a thing taking away from the men’s game. It’s just a different game.”

The matches will be aired primarily on CBS Sports Network, with the possibility that some may be aired on CBS throughout the partnership term. The PVF’s national broadcast schedule, which will include other media partnerships, will be released at a later date.

Texas took home the NCAA women’s volleyball title Sunday, sweeping No. 1 overall seed Nebraska to win its second straight championship.

The win came in front of a record-breaking crowd of 19,727 – breaking the indoor volleyball attendance record set just days before during the NCAA semifinals. And it caps off a record-breaking year for attendance in women’s volleyball, centered around Nebraska.

“You think you’re invincible. You think it’s destiny. ‘It’s ours.’ And I think Texas experienced that,” Nebraska coach John Cook said.

The Cornhuskers set the record for the largest crowd at a women’s sporting event, hosting 92,003 fans at an outdoor match at Memorial Stadium. They also had the largest home season total with 255,953 people turning out. And now, they are part-owners of the largest NCAA volleyball game.

Yet despite Nebraska’s historic season, there weren’t any doubts Sunday about Texas being national champion once again. Libero Asjia O’Neal served 10 consecutive points in the second set, which proved pivotal in the 3-0 sweep.

“Volleyball is a huge game of momentum,” O’Neal said. “During that run, I could totally feel the momentum shift to our side. We were playing with so much confidence and joy and I just knew that we had the game in the bag. … I was smiling because I was so happy with how we were feeling. You just feel it. I felt we were going to win the match.”

And the serving really became the key to the game.

“They had a level of serving we haven’t seen all year and that really impacted us in our momentum and our confidence and then everything started going their way and they got all the momentum and we just couldn’t ever get it back,” Cook said.

Texas took home the title in the first NCAA volleyball championship match to be televised on ABC.

“We had all the confidence in the world,” Texas star outside hitter Madisen Skinner told ESPN after the match. “I’ll say it until I die — this team was peaking right now and we just had so much trust and belief in one another. I mean our service pressure was insane. It gave us so many options in transition.”

O’Neal called it “the most joyous season I’ve ever had in my life.”

“We were just able to play free — we love each other and support one another and throughout the whole year, it was just so fun,” O’Neal said. “It was definitely challenging at times, but just today as an example, everyone played free, everyone had confidence in one another, and we were able to go out and take down some really incredible teams.”

Nebraska volleyball dominated throughout the season, but in the national championship match, Texas flipped the script.

The second-seeded Longhorns defeated the Huskers, who entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 overall seed, in a three-set sweep (25-22, 25-14, 25-11) to win the title for the second year in a row.

Before Sunday’s final at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, Nebraska (33-2) had lost just one set during its tournament run. The Huskers had lost just one match all season, to Big Ten rival Wisconsin in November.

Before Sunday’s final, Texas (28-4) had just one clean sweep during the tournament, a 3-0 win against SMU in the second round. The Longhorns needed to save a match point against Tennessee in the round of 16.

After that, though, battle-tested Texas bested the top three ranked teams in the country, defeating Stanford, 3-1, in the quarterfinals, Wisconsin, 3-1, in the national semifinals, and then a young but powerful Nebraska squad in the title match.

Texas outside hitter Madisen Skinner won Most Outstanding Player for the national semifinals. She posted match highs of 16 kills and five digs in the championship match.

The NCAA volleyball final is set, with Nebraska and Texas set to face off at 3 p.m. ET Sunday. Sunday’s match at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, will be the first volleyball national championship televised on ABC.

This marks Nebraska’s 11th trip to the NCAA final, with the Huskers having won five national titles to this point. They defeated fellow No. 1 seed Pitt in a 3-0 sweep, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17. Nebraska will face defending national champion Texas, a No. 2 seed, after the Longhorns upset No. 1 seed Wisconsin in four sets in the other semifinal.

For the Longhorns, Sunday will be their 10th NCAA final appearance. They have won three titles and will be going for their fourth. This will be the two teams’ third matchup in the national championship, with Nebraska beating Texas in 2015 and in 1995.

From 1996 to 2010, the two were conference rivals when Nebraska was still a part of the Big 12. Nebraska currently holds the series’ edge, 33-24. It’s a storied rivalry, with the first match between the programs coming in 1981. The latest match was the 2021 NCAA regional finals, which was won by the Huskers.

“There’s such a rich tradition of alumni, All-Americans, people that have won national championships on both sides,” Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said. “It’s Celtics vs. Lakers.”

Texas' Marianna Singletary spikes the ball against Wisconsin's Anna Smrek in the NCAA volleyball semifinals. (Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The NCAA volleyball tournament has reached its final four, with Nebraska, Pitt and Wisconsin all advancing as No. 1 seeds. Reigning champion Texas also reached the semifinals as a No. 2 seed.

In the quarterfinals, Nebraska beat Arkansas in four sets, as did Wisconsin with Oregon. Texas upset top-seeded Stanford in four sets to advance. Pitt was the only team to go to five sets in its regional final, besting last year’s national runner-up Louisville.

For the Longhorns, this year marks their 15th Final Four and their 11th in the last 16 seasons. They’ll face Wisconsin, which won the national championship in 2021 and is into its fourth Final Four in the last five years.

“We’re still climbing,” Badgers senior Devyn Robinson said. “We haven’t reached our best volleyball so we’re on our way up.”

Nebraska, meanwhile, entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. The Huskers finished as runner-up in 2021, and their last championship came in 2017.

Pitt is the only team among the final four never to have won a national championship, or to have advanced to the championship match. The Panthers will have the chance to do so Thursday, but they will have to go through Nebraska in order to do it.

The semifinals and championship will take place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

NCAA women’s volleyball tournament: Schedule

  • Semifinals: Thursday, Dec. 14 (ESPN)
    • No. 1 Nebraska vs. No. 1 Pitt — 7 p.m. ET
    • No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 2 Texas — 9:30 p.m. ET
  • Championship: Sunday, Dec. 17 (ABC) 
    • Semifinal winners — 3 p.m. ET

The NCAA volleyball tournament has arrived, with Nebraska locking up the No. 1 overall seed.

The five-time national champion Cornhuskers lead a contingent of stacked No. 1 seeds, including 2021 title winner Wisconsin, nine-time champion Stanford and Pitt.

No. 2 seeds include Kentucky, Louisville, Oregon and 2022 champion Texas, while Arkansas, Creighton, Purdue and Tennessee enter as No. 3 seeds. Rounding out the top four seeds are BYU, Florida, Kansas and Washington State.

A total of 64 teams will compete in the tournament. The field includes first-timers in Omaha, Coppin State, Wofford and Grand Canyon.

Penn State is in the tournament for the 43rd time. The Nittany Lions are the only program to appear in the tournament every single year. Nebraska and Stanford each have made 42 appearances and Hawai’i has made 41, while defending national champion Texas has made 40.

The SEC leads all conferences with eight teams, while the Big 12 has seven teams and the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 each have five.

For the first time, the championship match will be televised on ABC, taking place at 3 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 17.

Check out the full bracket here. The full schedule for first round matches – including time of matches – is here.

NCAA women’s volleyball tournament: Schedule

  • First and second rounds: Thursday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 3
  • Regionals: Thursday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 9
  • Semifinals: Thursday, Dec. 14 — 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Championship: Sunday, Dec. 17 — 3 p.m. ET on ABC

College volleyball continues to surge in the TV ratings.

Sunday’s match between No. 2 Wisconsin and Minnesota became the most-watched in NCAA history, averaging 1.66 million viewers. The Badgers and Gophers got a boost from a prime spot on FOX, filling the 4 p.m. ET NFL window for regions without a football game in that slot. In total, 76% of the United States received the match on FOX.

The previous viewership record for an NCAA volleyball match came in 2021, when 1.19 million viewers tuned in to watch Wisconsin win the national championship over Nebraska. And the previous regular-season viewership record came just last week, when Wisconsin lost to Nebraska — and averaged 612,000 viewers on Big Ten Network, more than the Cornhuskers football game the same day.

“How many times have we seen when you give opportunities to elite women’s sports that they show up?” Minnesota head coach Keegan Cook told the Star Tribune. “You have to have opportunity in order to meet opportunity … elated to see the response.”

Wisconsin swept Minnesota 3-0 on Sunday, but that didn’t deter viewers. The match averaged more viewers than Formula 1 racing on ABC, the Premier League on NBC and NFL Countdown on ESPN.

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.

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.

Nebraska volleyball won the last two sets against Wisconsin to claim the battle of unbeatens in Lincoln on Saturday night.

The win snapped the Huskers’ 10-match losing streak against Wisconsin dating back to 2017. Saturday night’s matchup was also the first between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in women’s volleyball since 2019. With the win, Nebraska will overtake the Badgers for the No. 1 spot this week.

A challenge by Nebraska coach John Cook on the final point resulted in a net violation against Wisconsin and sealed the victory after a 4-0 run in the fifth set, 25-22, 17-25, 20-25, 26-24, 15-13. Huskers junior Merritt Beason led the way with 21 kills, while freshman and 2023 No. 1 recruit Harper Murray registered 14 kills and 15 digs.

“It was a match for the ages tonight — two great teams battling every point,” Cook said after the match. “We just found a way to be two points better.”

The teams played in front of 9,198 fans at the Devaney Center, marking the 314th consecutive sellout for Nebraska volleyball. The match comes nearly two months after Nebraska shattered the attendance record for a women’s sporting event when 92,003 fans packed Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium to watch the team defeat Omaha on Aug. 30.

Nebraska (19-0, 10-0 Big Ten) and Wisconsin (18-1, 9-1) meet again on Nov. 24 in Madison, Wisc.

Nebraska volleyball made history Wednesday, setting the attendance record for a women’s sporting event with 92,003 fans packing Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium to watch the team beat Omaha 3-0.

Organizers anticipated “Volleyball Day in Nebraska” would surpass the previous record, held by FC Barcelona. But reality exceeded expectations, for those in attendance and those watching from home.

“It’s incredible. I don’t have enough words to describe it,” Nebraska middle blocker Andi Jackson said. “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.”

LSU women’s basketball star Angel Reese had her eyes on the spectacle from afar, and now she wants to see her team play in Tiger Stadium, her school’s 102,321-capacity football stadium in Baton Rouge.

“LET’S MAKE THIS HAPPEN!” she said in response to one fan suggesting the idea. In a separate post, she added: “Women’s sports is growing and I love that for us.”

Of course, Iowa women’s basketball is already making it happen in October. The Hawkeyes are hosting an exhibition game in 69,250-capacity Kinnick Stadium, with all proceeds going to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. That game set to break the record for the most-attended women’s basketball game.

And Iowa star Caitlin Clark also was among those awed by Nebraska’s feat, reacting to a video of the Cornhuskers walking out of the tunnel with one word: “Sheesh.”

Other big names also applauded the event, with Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson calling it “dope.” Tennis legend Billie Jean King called it “outstanding” before calling for the continued growth of women’s sports.

Nebraska volleyball players were glad their match, which was televised on Big Ten Network, reached such a wide audience.

“I’ve been saying it’s so huge for little girls to get to see a women’s sport and volleyball being played on this big of a stage and having so many people invest in it,” junior Lexi Rodriguez said. “When you’re little, you have big dreams and big goals. Having this to look up to is something that a lot of little girls will keep in the back of their mind when they’re pursuing the sport of volleyball.”