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The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Pro volleyball deserves much-needed attention

Hanna Singh

In a place like the United States where the sports scene is dominated by male athletes, it’s nice to see a woman go pro. The Pro Volleyball Federation is one of the newest additions to the world of female professional sports, along with the Professional Women’s Hockey League.

It’s safe to say that female sports are experiencing a monumental rise in popularity, and I couldn’t be happier. The PVF’s inaugural season comes at the end of collegiate volleyball’s most record-shattering. This recent season, women’s volleyball set numerous attendance records, the largest being Nebraska vs. Omaha on Aug. 30. Rather than an indoor facility, the match was played in Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, gathering 92,003 people. 

At the very end of the season, the NCAA volleyball championship between No. 2 Texas and No. 1 Nebraska broke another record. Despite having to battle with NFL Sunday games for viewers, the broadcast of the volleyball championship averaged 1.7 million viewers. This made the game the most-watched collegiate women’s volleyball match in history. 

The PVF has thankfully used this momentum to drive support and fans for a new women’s professional volleyball league, generating an average of 8,238 fans across three matches, according to the league’s website.

This kind of attention in women’s sports is unprecedented as topics like the WNBA, the women’s national soccer team and more continue to go from interesting blurbs on the news to daily conversations and bold headlines.

I hope that either during this season or next attendance numbers grow, viewers increase, and maybe a shirt displaying a team’s logo will be a little more common. 

The league currently sits at seven teams: the Atlanta Vibe, Columbus Fury, Grand Rapids Rise, Omaha Supernovas, Orlando Valkyries, San Diego Mojo and Vegas Thrill. Of those, five share their state with a college that finished in the top 25 in AVCA rankings. 

This means that talented, championship-caliber student athletes wouldn’t be traveling far to continue their career in volleyball, a career that one year ago was not realistic in the eyes of most people. 

Additionally, these states and cities already are hubs for volleyball given the success of nearby schools. Take the University of Omaha for example. In the most recent season, the school went 12-4 in conference play and won its respective conference championship. The city of Omaha can use the excitement from the collegiate season and keep that passion in the city, showing up and supporting the Omaha Supernovas. 

For someone living in Louisiana, the closest current team would be a 7-hour drive to Atlanta. While I’m fine with a road trip here and there, I would much rather something closer. Thankfully, there are three new cities lined up to start in 2025. Dallas, Kansas City and Indianapolis all will have a new professional sports team one year from now, with Indianapolis being the only future member to have a name “Indy Ignite.”

The league is young, and it’s still too early to throw around words like “best” or “worst” in the league, but I’m ready for professional volleyball to get even larger, reach more cities and gain more fans. Because truthfully, the women of the sports world deserve that kind of attention and appreciation.

Before the PVF, I would only watch volleyball at the collegiate level or wait four years for the Olympics to come around. Now, every year can be filled with high octane spikes, kills and other volleyball jargon. And the season running in the spring makes it the perfect complement to the collegiate season being in the fall. 

My hope is that the PVF is not a one-and-done league, and that support for it and the women of the league continue long after the initial buzz of a new league subsides. I get that it will take some time for people to buy into professional volleyball, but it isn’t impossible to imagine a volleyball player becoming as household of a name as Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe or Sue Bird.

Until then, I’ll be fine cheering on the players in the background of women’s sports. 

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