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The Spring League: Week One TV Ratings On FOX/FS1

The Spring League capped off the first week of their 2021 regular season on FOX this past Saturday afternoon. A game played at Rice Stadium in Houston, which saw The Generals defeat the Jousters 21-19 on a go-ahead field goal by Lirim Hajrullahu in the final moments. It was the first game ever in TSL’s history that was broadcast on Network Television.

The Spring League 2021 season kicked off with a doubleheader this past Thursday on FS1, followed by a late-night game Friday. All three of TSL’s games on FS1 ranked outside of Cable TV’s top 150 shows in the 18-49 demos on those two respective nights.

Here are the updated numbers for The Spring League’s three telecasts on FS1.

Alphas-Aviators, the first game of FS1’s Thursday night Spring League Football doubleheader, posted 95,000 viewers, a 217% jump from the 30,000 viewers the league averaged on the network last fall.  
Conquerors-Linemen, the second game of the doubleheader, scored 51,000 viewers, up 70% from the 30,000 viewers the league averaged on the network last fall. 
Friday night’s Blues-Sea Lions game averaged 114,000 viewers, up 280% from the 30,000 viewers the league averaged on the network last fall.

  • Update: For Week 1 of the 2021 TSL season, games on FOX and FS1 averaged 275,000 viewers, a +817% increase over last season’s average of 30,000 viewers on FS1. (Numbers courtesy of FOX Sports)

Here are the figures for Saturday’s FOX telecast. (courtesy of Nielsen Media Research.)

Saturday 5/8 Generals vs. Jousters on FOX TV scored a 0.24 household rating. The overall telecast averaged 380,000 viewers. 97,000 in the 18-49 demo.

The Spring League TV Ratings Analysis

I have to be honest. While the overall total of viewers for TSL’s debut on FOX is not strong. Considering the expectations, the lack of fanfare and promotion. The Spring League did much better than I anticipated. Perhaps that’s a testament to the reach of a Network Television partner like FOX or the lure of football in general, but Fox and TSL have to be pleased with the number. They scored it by default.

The fact that TSL generated 380k viewers is surprising.

Word of mouth will be key moving forward because TSL and FOX, which has a minority interest in the league, are operating under a penny-pinching budget. Unless the league can garner attention through the media, I don’t expect a major jump in their overall viewership. Still, if the broadcast numbers don’t plummet considerably, TSL might have enough legs to justify airing network games in the future. The Spring League is in baby steps mode but does plan to expand to markets in the future. With an announcement of their expansion plans coming soon.

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I am a pro football writer who has extensively covered and reported on multiple leagues over the years. I started covering the XFL back in 2001. You can follow me on Twitter @byMikeMitchell

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