Saturday, 30 September 2023

International Volleyball

Super NCAA volleyball Sunday produced more outstanding TV ratings

Super NCAA volleyball Sunday produced more outstanding TV ratings

Florida drew a program-record crowd of 10,323 in the O’Connell Center for its match with Wisconsin/Maddie Washburn photo

The Nielsen ratings hit for the NCAA women’s volleyball matches televised on Sunday afternoon by national-cable-TV channels, and they produced unexpected, head-scratching results.

The match with the largest audience on a highly competitive NFL Sunday was Oregon at Marquette on Fox Sports 1. It started at 2 p.m. Eastern, and recorded 325,000 total-average viewers over 96 minutes, according to the overnight Nielsens reported by the @SportsTVRatings site.

Wisconsin at Florida, which signed on at 3:02 p.m. on ESPN, posted an average viewership of 193,000 over 178 minutes.

Stanford at Louisville began at 1 p.m. on ESPN2 and was watched by 123,000 viewers over 155 minutes.

But those numbers in and of themselves only tell part of a larger, more compelling story.

The overriding takeaway is that during a 23-minute window from 3:02 p.m. Eastern to 3:25, when the three volleyball matches overlapped, the combined average viewerships totaled 641,000. The National Football League rules Sunday TV with an iron fist, and holds the “broadcast” trump card in the era of ever-increasing cord-cutting that has eroded cable TV’s subscriber base. The NFL has been the only major TV sports property that seemingly is impervious to changing trends as viewers have shifted away from traditional linear platforms.

So 641,00 for a so-called niche sport is a staggering number against the stiffest competition that can be found on any typical day on TV. Quarter-hour breakdowns of the three volleyball matches would tell the complete story – and it’s likely they would show a total less than the combined averages. Nonetheless, this translates to a lot of the coveted “casuals” choosing to watch women’s college volleyball while NFL games were being played on other channels.

Even the viewership of 325,000 on FS1 had to be an unexpected surprise to the host channel, given that its match not only went against the NFL but was directly competing with other volleyball on its ESPN rivals.

Here’s why:

Oregon won in the minimum three sets, while Wisconsin and Stanford waged stirring comebacks from two sets down to prevail in five, the proverbial reverse sweep. The viewerships ran counterintuitive to the conventional wisdom that contentious matches figure to be more appealing to viewers.

Not only that, but huge crowds gathered at the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at…