If you were to be the ultimate skeptic against how sustainable the model is for the XFL, your argument is getting tougher to defend as the weeks go on. While week 3 may have brought a slight dip in the ratings, it has become evident that people are absolutely buying what Oliver Luck and Vince McMahon are selling.
Some #XFL TV Network Ratings Comparisons:— Mike Mitchell (@MMXFLWriter) February 25, 2020
Saturday Sports Ratings:
XFL on ABC- 1.9 million viewers
XFL on Fox- 2051 million viewers
NBA on ABC- 1.75 million viewers
PGA on NBC- 1.72 million viewers
NCAA Basketball on CBS- 966k viewers
NCAA on Fox- 546k
Soccer on NBC- 843k
Now to say that it was a “dip” in the ratings would be overstating it in my humble opinion. Viewership over the weekend was still an unbridled success if you compare it to the ratings of last year’s spring football endeavor, the AAF. While they had comparable numbers on opening weekend, the XFL has carried this momentum as the season carries on. The Week 3 slate brought over 1 million viewers to every game with a peak of an eye-catching 2.051 million on the Fox broadcast of Dallas and Seattle.
Now for some perspective, let’s look at the AAF. If you took the week 3 ratings of the two games that were played that weekend (Orlando/Memphis and San Antonio/San Diego), those games combined didn’t match the lowest rating the XFL had this weekend. The AAF brought home 515,000 and 491,000 viewers respectively according to showbuzzdaily.com. Compare that to the 1,004,000 fans who tuned in the watch the LA Wildcats topple the undefeated DC Defenders and you could argue that the XFL has firmly entrenched themselves into the psyche of the avid football fan.
If you don’t like AAF v XFL TV rating comparisons due to XFL’s better TV deal, ignore this single Tweet:— Konnor Fulk (@KonnorFulk_XFL) February 25, 2020
Week 3 XFL:
Dallas v Seattle FOX: 2.05M
Houston v Tampa ABC: 1.91M
Guardians v St. Louis ESPN: 1.47M
DC v LA FS1: 1.0M
Week 3 AAF:
NFL Net. Sat: 491K
NFL Net. Sun: 515K
Arguably the biggest thing propelling the XFL to this level of popularity is the accessibility that fans have to actually and tune in and watch the games. There are no extra packages that fans have to purchase. Aside from one game on FS1 per week, all of the games can be found on ABC, Fox, or ESPN.
This is a welcome change from the AAF tethering themselves to NFL Network which cuts out a large chunk of people who don’t have that channel in their cable plans, especially with most people choosing streaming services as their new way of consuming live sports.
Bottom line, the XFL is yet to dip below averaging over 1 million viewers per game. This has to be the sort of start that the suits in Stamford, CT were hoping for. Now as we roll into the real meat of the schedule, we will truly see the staying power that the upstart league will have.
The teams are finding their identities. Every city has had a chance to show their support for their teams in person. There has already been a good amount of drama and bad blood between players and organizations (See Rocket Ross and the LA Wildcats). Now, all we can do is sit back and watch the story unfold. But one thing looks to be true. The XFL has invested in getting their product to be easily accessible to the fans and they seem to be eating it up.
For those that are worried about how the #XFL Week 3 ratings are, all I can say is to keep supporting the league in whatever way you can.— Zach Keilman (@ZachKeilman) February 25, 2020
Broadcasters look to US to see if we want it. LETS PROVE IT.
Keep watching, and we keep @xfl2020. Love this league. pic.twitter.com/lsUsviG0hL
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February 25, 2020 at 11:32 pm
FS1 is still a hinderance. The games i want are on that network. Still love the league….but i wanna see my team. Only been able to once so far. Go Guardians!!
February 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm
Nice spin but no the ratings are not that impressive. The ratings dropped about 50% from week 1 to 3 and with seven weeks still to go in the season and March Madness on the horizon it is crucial that the XFL shows it can maintain an audience to indicate it is worthwhile to put this league on the major networks. If it starts struggling to barely get a million viewers the tv contract very well may get pulled.
THe things you are comparing it to are all established entities that have proven they have staying power. THe XFL hasn’t proven at all yet that it has staying power.