World Attendance Record for Women’s Sports Achieved at NCAA Volleyball Game

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Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, was packed with 92,003 spectators, the biggest ever number in the world to see a women’s sporting event, when the five-time NCAA champion Nebraska volleyball team justified the role of the favorite on online bookmakers with betting bonuses and defeated Omaha 3-0.

The Huskers’ attendance record was revealed to the red-clad Nebraska crowd, who erupted in jubilant applause after their beloved team prevailed over the Mavericks in the first two sets.

Previous Record Set on UEFA Champions League Match

The match, which took place on “Volleyball Day in Nebraska”, was the result of months of preparation for a program and state that have long been at the forefront of volleyball fervor. The audience gathered at a venue on the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln beat the previous record for women’s sports attendance, which stood at 91,648 and was achieved on April 22, 2022, in Barcelona, Spain, during a UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona Femení and VfL Wolfsburg. The stadium where the new record was set is normally the home of Nebraska men’s (American) football.

It was also a paid event. Initially, tickets for the doubleheader cost $25 for adults and $5 for high school students and younger. Wayne State defeated Nebraska-Kearney in a Division II exhibition game before the Huskers and Mavericks met in Division I. Yet, the secondary market saw ticket costs as high as $400.

Nebraska Holds Long American Football and Volleyball Sellout Streaks

The previous attendance record for a women’s sporting event in the United States was set on July 10, 1999, when the USA and China played in the FIFA World Cup football (soccer) final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, drawing 90,185 spectators. That game, which the Americans won on penalties with Brandi Chastain scoring the game-winning kick, was a watershed moment for women’s football in general and for women’s athletics in particular.

The 2023 collegiate volleyball season is just getting started, and No. 5-ranked Nebraska was already 4-0, thus the stakes in Nebraska vs. Omaha weren’t equivalent to those of a World Cup final. However, the Nebraska team, the college, and the state took the fight for attendance seriously. Men’s (American) football (389) and women’s volleyball (306) sellout streaks are well recognized in Nebraska.

This gave Nebraska (American) football something to strive for as well, as the record attendance for a stadium constructed in 1923 is 92,003. In September 2014, Nebraska’s (American) football victory over Miami drew 91,585 spectators, which was the largest Memorial Stadium attendance till a Nebraska vs. Omaha duel.

The previous most crowded NCAA women’s volleyball match ever – the national championship match between the Huskers and victor Wisconsin on December 18, 2021, in Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, which drew 18,755 spectators – also put Nebraska in the spotlight.

The NCAA attendance record for a women’s volleyball regular-season game was also achieved by the Badgers in September of the same year in Madison, Wisconsin: 16,833. That was obviously a dare for the Huskers, so they went bigger.

The NCAA doesn’t keep track of attendance for all sports, but Jeff Williams, associate director of media coordination and statistics, told The Associated Press that the audience of more than 90,000 was undoubtedly one of the biggest for a non-(American)football game. More than 113,000 spectators attended a 2010 outdoor hockey match between Michigan and Michigan State at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

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December 10, 2023 | 6 p.m. local time.


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