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Week 8 XFL TV Ratings Rise On ABC, ESPN, And ESPN2

The TV Ratings are in for Week 8 of the XFL Season—a week after scoring an average viewership on Cable TV of 350k. The league returned to broadcast network television on ABC. For only their fifth over-the-air game telecast of the season.

The XFL had four of their most exciting games of the season in Week 8. Was it enough to produce a bounce-back and better ratings?

XFL Week 8 TV Ratings On ABC, ESPN, And ESPN 2

Week 8 in the XFL started with a Saturday afternoon game (1 pm ET) on ESPN. The opening telecast of the weekend saw the modern XFL’s first overtime shootout. The St. Louis Battlehawks-Vegas Vipers game averaged 868,000 viewers. The highest mark on Cable for the XFL since Week 1. The ESPN showing was ranked 6th out of the top 150 Cable TV shows in the 18-49 demographic.

Week 7’s St. Louis-Houston XFL regular season game averaged 502,000 viewers on ESPN, making it the most-watched XFL game on cable in three weeks. The multi-week high before this weekend came despite direct competition from the record-setting LSU-Iowa NCAA women’s basketball tournament final (10 M).

The XFL action on ESPN continued Saturday at 4 pm ET. The Arlington Renegades-Orlando Guardians game averaged 679,000 viewers. The telecast was rated 10th out of the top 150 Cable TV shows in the 18-49 demo.

On Easter Sunday, the XFL’s ABC game at 3 pm ET between the Houston Roughnecks and San Antonio Brahmas averaged 1.006 million viewers. It was the league’s second overtime game of the weekend. The XFL has averaged nearly 1.2 million viewers per broadcast this season on ABC.

The XFL’s two overtime games saw high peak viewership. Saturday’s game on ESPN peaked at 1.18 million viewers. Sunday’s ABC game peaked at 2 million, and the last hour plus averaged 1.4 million viewers.

Sunday night’s ESPN2 telecast featuring the D.C. Defenders and Seattle Sea Dragons averaged 487,000 viewers. The 34-33 shootout was rated 23rd out of the top 150 Cable TV shows in the 18-49 demographic.

The four XFL games in Week 8 averaged 760,000 viewers—an expected uptick from last week’s games (350k average). But a rather sizable one late in the season. As a comparison point, the USFL in Week 8 last season with two of their games on FOX averaged 535,000 viewers.

XFL TV Ratings Season Average

For the 2023 regular season. The XFL has averaged 428,000 viewers on FX (12 games). 491,000 on ESPN 2 (8 games), 640,000 on ESPN (8 games), and 1,195 million on ABC (5 games). One of the 32 XFL games was simulcast on two cable networks. (Week 1 ESPN/FX, 751k & 390k, which combined averaged 1.141 million).

The heavily slanted tv schedule, with 27 of the XFL games airing exclusively on Cable TV, has the league averaging just under 689,000 viewers per broadcast for the season.

XFL Week 9 TV Schedule

Vegas Vipers@Houston RoughnecksSaturday, April 15
12:30PM ET

ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
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XFL Game Center
Orlando Guardians@San Antonio BrahmasSaturday, April 15
12:30 PM ET
ESPN2 / ESPN+ / ESPN Deportes

ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
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XFL Game Center
Arlington Renegades@D.C. DefendersSunday, April 16
12:00PM ET

ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
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XFL Game Center
Seattle Sea Dragons@St. Louis BattlehawksSaturday, April 15
7:00 PM ET

ESPN Xtra on Sirius/XM
Find Tickets
XFL Game Center

Week 9 of the XFL TV schedule sees a similar broadcast lineup as last week, with one game on ABC, two telecasts on ESPN, and another ESPN2 showing.

All four of the XFL’s games in the penultimate week of their regular season have playoff implications. The Houston Roughnecks will look to clinch the South division crown and secure a home playoff game. The San Antonio Brahmas will try to win and keep their slim postseason hopes alive. The 7-1 Defenders return to D.C. trying to ensure a playoff game at Audi Field Sunday afternoon. And the weekend caps off with the most important game of the regular season. A Northern clash between the Seattle Sea Dragons and Battlehawks in St. Louis. With high stakes involved, only one of the two teams will reach the playoffs.

An exciting slate of games for the XFL; however, the 2023 league will not have the spring pro football space to itself this coming weekend. The USFL returns for its second season this Saturday and Sunday with three games on over-the-air network television. Two of the USFL Week One games on FOX and NBC respectively will go head to head with XFL broadcasts on ESPN2 and ESPN.

The unique showdown between two pro football leagues is unprecedented and should make for some interesting comparisons when the TV ratings come out a week from now.

Below is a look at the competing spring pro league schedules this coming weekend.

XFL Week 9 vs. USFL 2023 Opening Week

Saturday April 15th, 2023

  • XFL: Houston Roughnecks vs. Vegas Vipers, 12:30 p.m. ET/ABC
  • USFL: Philadelphia Stars vs. Memphis Showboats, 4:30 p.m. ET/FOX

Saturday April 15th, 2023

  • XFL: Orlando Guardians vs. San Antonio Brahmas, 7 p.m. ET/ESPN2
  • USFL: New Jersey Generals vs. Birmingham Stallions, 7:30 p.m. ET/FOX

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

  • XFL: Arlington Renegades vs. D.C. Defenders, 12 noon ET/ESPN
  • USFL: Michigan Panthers vs. Houston Gamblers, 12 noon ET/NBC

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

  • XFL: Seattle Sea Dragons vs. St. Louis Battlehawks, 3 p.m. ET/ESPN
  • USFL: Pittsburgh Maulers vs. New Orleans Breakers, 6:30 p.m. ET/FS1

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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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