What we do know about the record-smashing TV numbers posted Sunday for NCAA women’s volleyball is that 1.659 million watched the landmark telecast on over-the-air Fox.
That’s earth-shattering news for fans of the fast-rising sport.
A viewership in seven figures vividly demonstrated to TV executives that volleyball can attract the casual viewers that fuel growth and intuitively should be a catalyst for more matches to air on broadcast platforms.
As for what we don’t know about the telecast, hang on, it’s important, and we’ll get to that later.
But first, the Nielsen ratings also told us that women’s volleyball absolutely blew away EVERYTHING televised in sports that day not called the National Football League in the “prime” 18-49 demographic. The 18-49 demo is highly coveted by advertisers because their marketing surveys tell them younger viewers are more easily influenced by ads and it is the largest age group at roughly 130 million.
Performance in the key demo is considered even more critical than overall viewership to television decision-makers, in that it heavily influences the CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions) that is a significant component of the formula that determines how much TV channels charge for a 30-second ad spot.
On Sunday, the volleyball telecast on Fox posted a rating of .44 in the 18-49 demo. In the shifting landscape of linear television, that rating is stupendous, even if it means that fewer than one-half-of-one-percent of the potential viewership pool in 18-49 tuned in, as determined by Nielsen’s scientific sampling of U.S. TV households.
RATINGS SPIKE: Sunday’s @bigten women’s volleyball slate featuring @OhioStateWVB at @umichvball and @GopherVBall at @BadgerVB scored 1,659,000 viewers on FOX – the most-viewed regular season women’s college volleyball telecast in history 🏐 pic.twitter.com/qzHtm1jIzx
— FOX Sports PR (@FOXSportsPR) October 31, 2023
That .44 rating blistered the “prime demo” numbers put up on Sunday by the NASCAR Cup playoff race from the venerable Martinsville short track on NBC (.21 with a total-average viewership of 2.196 million), Formula One’s Mexican Grand Prix on ABC (.25/1.080 million), an English Premier League soccer match on USA Network (.10/345,000), an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on TBS…