Monday, 26 February 2024

International Volleyball

NCAA volleyball: More TV news; AVCA honors Cook; big tourney set

NCAA volleyball: More TV news; AVCA honors Cook; big tourney set

Temi Thomas-Ailara attacks as Wisconsin teammates CC Crawford, left, and Devyn Robinson block during practice for the Wisconsin Badgers practice Wednesday/@AndyWenstrand

As we wait for the start of the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship national semifinals, notes, notes, notes …

We have a TV update from Larry Hamel, Nebraska’s John Cook is the AVCA national coach of the year, and there’s going to be a heck of a volleyball tournament in Milwaukee in September.

We will have match stories soon after the conclusion of the Nebraska-Pittsburgh and Wisconsin-Texas matches.

VBM’s Hamel on regionals TV

It’s time again to crunch the positive TV numbers that continued to pour in for NCAA women’s volleyball, on this occasion in the four NCAA Tournament round-of-eight matches telecast throughout the day and night Saturday on the third-tier cable channel ESPNU.

In the Nielsen ratings reported on Tuesday by the Sports Media Watch site, the audiences for those four matches gained 32.7% in a year-to-year comparison with the quartet that aired on ESPNU on December, 10. 2022.

Here’s a breakdown of the total-average viewerships from Saturday (with the start time for the ESPNU telecast in parentheses): Wisconsin-Oregon, 379,000 (8:28 p.m. Eastern); Nebraska-Arkansas, 377,000 (6: 45 p.m.); Texas-Stanford, 355,000 (10:28 p.m.); Pittsburgh-Louisville, 192,000 (4:13 p.m.). That totaled 1.203 million compared to the 906,000 that had tuned into the regional finals in 2022 on the same channel in a similar time window.

The peak match of 2023 showed a 21.8% increase on the most-watched of 2022 (311,000 for the third of the day). The trough match was 32.4% higher than the least-watched from the previous year (145,000, again in the opener).

As I remind the readers every time I pen a post about TV ratings, an upward arrow on the “fever line” bucks the business-wide trend on cable during an era of cord-cutting by subscribers. Note that these viewership gains were logged even as the “reach” of ESPNU dropped 4% from December 2022 to December 2023. Many ratings pundits rationalize that audience maintenance is a positive and that a drop that tracks the overall percentage of erosion of cable TV households is acceptable.

I’m not all together sure that TV network beancounters buy into that concept, since “eyeballs” have a direct correlation with the proverbial bottom line. Total average viewership (P2 in ratings…

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