Intersport and FOX announced a partnership to bring nationally prominent women’s volleyball programs to network television during Labor Day Weekend when Minnesota, Stanford, Texas and Wisconsin meet for an early season showcase event, which will be staged at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis.
“I’m thrilled for our volleyball program, our University and our community to be part of this tremendous preseason event,” said Minnesota head coach Keegan Cook. “The most essential ingredients to the growth of volleyball are partnerships that bring our game to the national audience. I applaud FOX and all of our broadcast partners for committing to our sport at the highest level.”
The 2024 event was made possible with the support of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, which was instrumental in helping bring the concept to the nation’s top coaches. Many have expressed interest in playing in future editions of the event, which will be staged in volleyball hotbeds around the country in the years to come.
The inaugural showcase will be contested Sept. 1-2, 2024, with Wisconsin facing Texas and Stanford taking on Minnesota on Sept. 1. Matchups the following day will feature Wisconsin-Stanford and Texas-Minnesota. Two of the four games will be broadcast on FOX while the remaining two will air on FS1.
“There is an obvious growing appetite for the sport of volleyball, evidenced by roaring attendance numbers and record-breaking television ratings. It will be an incredible sight to help further amplify the sport with an elite early season showcase on network television,” said Mark Starsiak, vice president at Intersport. “We’re fortunate to have an eager partner in FOX, four immensely talented programs with passionate fan bases, a world-class host venue in Fiserv Forum and the support of the American Volleyball Coaches Association to carve an incredible foundation for this event that we envision as a staple on the college volleyball calendar for years to come.”
These programs have established themselves as the class of women’s volleyball over the years, combining for 13 national championships, 17 runner-up finishes and 48 Final Four appearances. The teams have combined to win four of the last five national championships and at least one of the four programs has appeared in the Final Four annually since 2012.
Earlier this year, FOX made history when it aired women’s college volleyball on network television for the first time. On Oct. 29, FOX televised a pair of regional matchups, including a matchup between Wisconsin-Minnesota, that delivered a college volleyball record 1.659 million viewers.
“The AVCA is excited to assist Intersport and FOX establish a marquee event for volleyball,” said Dr. Jamie Gordon, CEO of the AVCA. “These organizations recognize the value the sport has to offer and are dedicated to producing a first-class event next fall and for years to come. Our coaches are committed to the vision of what this event will become and remain devoted to the growth and integrity of our sport.”
Fiserv Forum is no stranger to hosting high-profile volleyball matchups. This season, Wisconsin faced Marquette at the downtown Milwaukee Arena in front of an indoor volleyball record 17,037 fans on Sept. 13. The previous record was held by Wisconsin when 16,833 fans watched the Badgers host Wisconsin at the Kohl Center on Sept. 16, 2022.
Additional details regarding the inaugural event, including sponsors, match times, ticket information and more will be available at a later date. Fans interested in receiving email alerts regarding these updates can register at WEBSITE. Ensuing years of the event will feature different teams participating in different venues across the country and will be announced at the appropriate time.
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)