All four of the Week One XFL games drew between 17,000 and 18,000 fans. But only one of the four games created the impression that the stadium was nearly full.
In D.C., the Dragons-Defenders game seemed like a big deal because it was a played in a small stadium. Indeed, 17,000-plus fans in a 20,000-seat venue looks much better than 17,000 in an 82,500-seat cavern. Which is what happened on Sunday, when New York hosted Tampa Bay at MetLife Stadium.
These eight teams all need to be playing in smaller stadiums, at least for now. The NFL had a blackout rule for decades for a reason: Football in a full stadium sends a stronger message than football in a mostly empty venue. It makes the game seem more compelling. It makes the viewer believe that it’s worth his or her time to keep viewing the game.
As Peter King argued on Monday’s PFT Live, the New York team should be playing in the local MLS stadium, where the Red Bulls play. In every XFL city, it would make plenty of sense to find a place that holds 20,000 fans at most.
Having those stadiums sold out would be a good problem to have. And before moving to a 40,000, 60,000, or 80,000-seat coliseum, it would make more sense to increase the price point for the tickets until supply matches demand. And until the XFL moves to smaller stadiums, the XFL should use low-angle camera shots from the larger buildings in order to keep the empty second and third decks out of the shot.