First XFL game draws 3.3 million viewers on ABC

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The XFL’s debut game drew 3.3 million viewers.

ABC announced that number today and added that the viewership peaked at the end of the broadcast, which is a good sign that the game kept fans interested.

Last year, the Alliance of American Football drew 2.9 million viewers for its first game. The AAF never reached anything remotely close to that again and shut down before completing its first season.

But the XFL has a much better TV deal than the AAF had. After that first AAF game aired on CBS, other games moved to TNT, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network and the streaming B/R Live service. The XFL will continue to air on ABC, FOX and ESPN throughout the season.

The big question facing the XFL is whether it can hold onto that Day One audience or perhaps even grow as the season goes on — or whether fans tuned into the first game out of curiosity and will tune out just as quickly.

49 responses to “First XFL game draws 3.3 million viewers on ABC

  1. Just look at next weeks match up, New York at Washington, McGloin vs Cardale, This is reminiscent of Manning vs Brady, this is what keeps me coming back to the XFL every 19 or 20 years

  2. I think its great. I obviously dont think its better than Patriots vs Chiefs or anyother high caliber matchup in the NFL but Id rather watch this than Thursday night football. The live lookins to playcalls is great. I like it, I hope its successful

  3. Mick Lovin’ says:
    February 9, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Just look at next weeks match up, New York at Washington, McGloin vs Cardale, This is reminiscent of Manning vs Brady, this is what keeps me coming back to the XFL


    For me it’s Landry Jones vs. uhhh…uhhh. whoever he’s playing against next week.

  4. I enjoyed it, and gambled on it and the fact they keep the spread and total visible ALL GAME is interesting.

    Ever notice how they used to NOT have teams records on TV? Since everyone watching the game would ask “Whats this teams record”– now its on every single game.
    People ask just as much “Whats the spread on this game” — XFL knows this and they are doing it.

  5. Great, another XFL article … here comes another 100+ PAID XFL social media manipulators to write positive things about it and upvote themselves while downvoted any negative comments…

    It’s like they never visited this site before and read the typical PFT comments…

  6. Good start for the league. I can see where NFL would like to have them be successful. Good exposure for potential players & perhaps a place where rule changes can be used to see impacting results. The NFL should support the league financially.

  7. The only way this league would work, is if NFL teams could designate up to 7 players each, so we could get a chance to see what our practice squad guys are like. You put their NFL team logo on the uniform, and i would watch to see how my teams guys are.

  8. The Houston LA game was fun, and had some highlight reel stuff. I didn’t see the other games. I don’t get why fans of football wouldn’t want it to succeed. By supporting it, it succeeding, will only lend to it improving. If you’re a “fan” of football, you should care. Otherwise, you’re really just a fan of the NFL – which is fine.

  9. The XFL, before kickoff, has already surpassed ticket sales revenue for the entire season of the AAF.

  10. I will be watching. I find it very entertaining. But, I love football. This seems like good ol clean football.

  11. What’s great is the fact there’s no Brady, Rodgers or Wilson strutting around.

  12. Games have less WWE influence than 2001 version. Speaking of 2001, how did that year’s first game do in terms of rating?

  13. I liked it. But my opinion after the 1st 4 games:

    Allow the standard 1 point PAT maybe from the 15 yard line or further back, these guys can’t convert the 2 yard play.

    Keep the 1 foot in rule from college, again they need more scoring.

    If they want to keep the games at their stated 2:45 time goal, icing the kicker inside the final 2 minutes should be eliminated. It rarely works. Ice the kicker, move 5 yards closer.

    Also I watched the replay guy (which is cool) determine a play which was overturned. However then the same guy stopped play to determine where the spot was and then the clock time. Couldn’t someone else be working on that while he’s reviewing the play? Another guy in the booth looked like he was shopping on eBay. Speeding up the play was the stated goal and I like the pace.

  14. Count me in. Seattle went 0-1 this week, but hopefully they’ll go 1-0 next week. Dragons’ colors might take some getting used to, but that’s a minor detail. Wish I could go see a game live. #GoDragons

    As with one of the other posters, I don’t understand the hate for the XFL (or AAF for that matter – I enjoyed that quite a bit). Are people so territorial that anything different than what they always watch is a threat to their social identity?

  15. I watched a couple of games this weekend. Mostly because I was at a bar and bored. But honestly I found it entertaining and the quality better than I expected. I’m not sure if I’ll make it a point to watch it but I’m definitely not out on it. I feel better now about this league than I ever did the AFL or old XFL

  16. I actually enjoyed this weekends games (watched all 4), better than watching the whining multimillion dollar cry babies of the NFL. The teams are pretty evenly matched,even tho there is an obvious drop in talent, but some players really suprised me! I loved seeing that goofy Jerry Glanville again.
    The games feel fresh, they have some interesting and unique differences that the NFL needs to look at like the Kickoffs, and extra point options.
    I watched players who don’t make as much as NFL players tip for a meal out there, and they were playing their guts out! I also loved hearing the plays being called, + the up tempo pace. XFL don’t change a thing and I’ll be watching EVERY WEEKEND! AND spreading the word. I have already talked one sports bar into putting the games on next week. Nice job

  17. People need to support this league as the NFL NEEDS Competition! The NFL is Almost Unwatchable! Officials have too much power and there are far too many rules. Why should illegal shift be a penalty??? There are too many holding calls and the Wide Receivers should have a little more leeway to gain separation. NFL has taken many good things away. Onside Kicks, Leaping to Block Kicks, Good Hitting and Too many Kneel downs! Make the Teams EARN the Win! If the Plays at the End of the Game result in a Loss of Yardage, Then the Clock Should STOP!!! I also enjoy the SCRUM for the Ball! Good Stuff. One Final thing is the Field should be a little wider as teams are too fast and players have trouble making the edge.

  18. I’m surprised they did a better first rating than the AAF did, just because I would have figured the AAF falling apart in the middle of the season would have kept some of those viewers from giving another new league a chance so soon. And not only did they do a better rating, they did it with an afternoon game. The AAF’s debut game was at night in prime time.

    Hopefully that means good things going forward.

  19. Average joe says:
    February 9, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    I think its great. I obviously dont think its better than Patriots vs Chiefs or anyother high caliber matchup in the NFL but Id rather watch this than Thursday night football. The live lookins to playcalls is great. I like it, I hope its successful


    Agreed…I think they already have Thursday Night Football beat! LOL

  20. The Quality of play was Surprisingly GOOD!!! Games are Competitive, No name QB’s can all play. Receivers are good too. I am on board!.

  21. It’s funny that if the NFL proposed something like a 1, 2, and 3 point option after a TD, folks here would be screaming to “leave the game alone” and “gimmicky.” But with this league, I hear comments like “fun” and “good clean football.” Even the local sports radio station here in DC seems to be surprisingly hyping this league up.

    Not sure why this league is any different from the AAF…second-division pro football. Am I missing something?

    The reason why the USFL lasted three seasons is because it actually had some star players (e.g., Walker, Young, etc.). Neither the AAF or XFL have gone that way. It’s not bad football, but it’s not anything special.

  22. The overall quality of play wasn’t bad for a first week’s effort. Some of the biggest mistakes I saw were in relation to the rules differences between the XFL and NFL/college. The way LA handled the end of the first half against Houston is symbolic of that. I think it certainly has the opportunity to grow into a developmental/feeder league for the NFL. As one of the commenators said during LA/Houston “Its easier to evaluate guys getting in game reps than practice squad reps” or something like that. The refs in LA/Houston were also letting some hits go that pretty sure would be called in NFL.

  23. By the time conference tournaments come around, and definitely, once March Madness starts, the XFL TV ratings will have come back to earth.

  24. I tuned in just to see how it looked and surprised myself by actually enjoying the football. I like the kickoff; I found myself actually looking forward to the kickoffs knowing that something interesting might actually happen. So much better than the inevitable touchback. I like the extra point options. So much better than the ultra-boring PAT. It also doesn’t matter that I don’t have “my team”. Living in Indiana, I don’t have a natural pick in this league and I don’t care. I just want to watch entertaining football.

  25. XFL did massive numbers in 2001, destroyed the NBA in head to head matchups. Attendance was also much bigger for games in 2001

    From 2001:

    “NBC earned a 9.5 final rating for its inaugural XFL telecast on February 3, 2001. The rating was up 86% from the network’s Saturday night average at that point of the 2000-01 television season.

    The premiere XFL telecast helped NBC win the night on broadcast, and gave the network what was its highest rated Saturday night on record in the men 18-34 demographic.

    XFL ratings did not remain that high for long. Ratings for NBC’s Saturday night coverage dropped by 52% from Week 1 to Week 2 (4.6), by 33% from Week 2 to Week 3 (3.1), and by 16% from Week 3 to Week 4 (2.6).

    Ratings bottomed out at a 1.5 in both Weeks 9 and 10, and the league’s championship game — or ‘Million Dollar Game’ — drew a 2.1.

    The league did not return for a second season. NBC averaged a 3.0 rating for twelve XFL telecasts. UPN, which carried Sunday afternoon XFL coverage, averaged a 1.3.”

  26. I tried to watch and couldn’t even get trough a full offensive series. This league is a joke and will be dead by next year. Nobody is interested in watching practice squad players and guys literally off the street play during the NBA and NHL seasons and March Madness.

  27. I had to get out the weed eater and mow the grass. Then I went and played nine. I mean it is February.

  28. The NFL needs to adopt the XFL kickoff rule asap! That single element was worth the time watching. Is there any more useless waste of time than an NFL kickoff? Touchback, return inside the 20 or penalty nine times out of ten. Booooooo! Get on this now NFL!

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