Nebraska’s Volleyball Juggernaut Is a Financial Outlier

The largest ever crowd to watch a women’s sporting event showed up for Nebraska Volleyball Day at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night, as 92,003 packed the place to watch Nebraska take on Omaha.

The turnout eclipsed the previous global women’s sporting attendance mark of 91,648 set during the Barcelona-Wolfsburg Champions League soccer match in 2022. The United States record was just behind–90,185 fans packed the Rose Bowl for the 1999 World Cup final between the U.S. Women’s National Team and China.

More from

The fourth-ranked Cornhuskers volleyball team, which posted a three-set sweep, has led the NCAA in attendance in each of the past nine seasons. The program is also a fascinating financial outlier. Below is a snapshot of some of their key metrics, according to Sportico’s Intercollegiate Finances Database.

$2.12 millionNebraska’s volleyball ticket sales revenue in 2021-22

The only other women’s sports team at a public FBS school that rakes in more money in ticketing is UConn’s powerhouse women’s basketball team, which pulled in $2.40 million. In fact, only two other women’s teams even made seven figures in the category: Louisville’s and Tennessee’s women’s basketball teams, which earned $1.23 million and $1.21 million, respectively.

Another remarkable comparison point: Oklahoma’s famously popular softball team only brought in $985,000 in ticket revenue, less than half of what the Cornhuskers made in volleyball. Wisconsin’s women’s volleyball team, currently ranked first in the nation on the court, made only $713,000 in ticket revenue.

$565,413Nebraska’s volleyball revenue in concessions, parking, programs and novelties

Not only is that more than the women’s basketball team, it’s more than twice as much as the men’s basketball team, which brought in $248,000.

$3.58 millionNebraska’s total 2021-22 women’s volleyball expenses

This number just edged out Texas’ program to lead the nation. Although it is the seventh-most expensive non-basketball women’s sports team in the country, a whopping 51 schools spend more on their women’s basketball teams.

$789,726Head coach John Cook’s 2021-22 compensation

Cook makes more than any other Nebraska women’s team coach, but his salary pales in comparison to the $4.6 million and $3.5 million earned by football coach Matt Rhule and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, respectively. Cook has coached the Cornhuskers for 23 seasons and won national championships, most recently in 2017.

$49,196Nebraska’s recruiting expenses for volleyball

The women’s volleyball team surprisingly spends less on recruiting than four other women’s teams in the athletic department: basketball, gymnastics, soccer and track and field.

$128,639—Non-travel meals spending for the 14 women on the team

This is slightly less than the women’s basketball team ($156,617). Only six other women’s basketball programs in the country spend more on meals for their players than Nebraska does for its women’s volleyball squad. The team brings in an unusual amount of revenue for the school through its performance on the court, and the athletes eat well for it.

(This story has been updated in the first paragraph with the total attendance from Wednesday night's game.)

Best of

Click here to read the full article.