USFL averaged 715,000 viewers in 2022 regular season

USFL Week Ten - Michigan Panthers v Pittsburgh Maulers
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The USFL debuted (or as the case may be returned) in 2022. The first regular season is in the books, and the TV numbers are in.

Via Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the 36 games televised by Fox, NBC, FS1, and USA Network averaged 715,000 viewer. Of that number, seven games averaged more than one million viewers. (Omitted from these figures is the average audience for games that were available via streaming only.)

The average suggests a downward trend as the season unfolded. Indeed, the final game of the regular season, televised last Sunday by FS1, bottomed out at 181,000 viewers.

Even so, the USFL has shown that it can hold its own with other spring sports, such as the Premier League, the NHL regular season, Formula One, and Major League Soccer.

Jon Miller of NBC, which televised half of the game, described the product as “profitable.” Mike Mulvihill of Fox said that the USFL (which is owned by Fox) proved that it can compete in the category with other spring sports.

Next year, the XFL returns. It begins earlier than the USFL, and it benefits from a partnership with ABC and ESPN.

To little surprise, ESPN ignored the existence of the USFL, much like it did with the NHL before it acquired the TV rights. (Again, it’s The Worldwide Leader in Sports . . . That We Televise.) Next year, with ESPN propping up the XFL and ignoring the USFL, how will the USFL fare?

Over the long haul, the ongoing spread of legalized wagering is the key. People want and need things on which to bet. And when the technology is implemented that projects real-time images to phones and screens at home, the potential for in-game, per-play betting could be another way to boost interest and, in turn, viewership.

16 responses to “USFL averaged 715,000 viewers in 2022 regular season

  1. Cool, there are 714,999 other people out there whose lives are as miserable as mine.

  2. I watched several of the games. Probably a dozen if I were going to guess. The only reason I didnt watch more of the games was because it was hard to find them. Thats it. They were on weird channels, at weird times, and I simply didnt realize they were on a lot of the time. Having them on so many channels, and at so many varying times just made it hard to watch as much as I wanted to.

  3. I think I watched one game, maybe two. Neither were watched all the way through the end.

  4. Watched the first few weeks, the games were interesting with the new tech (c’mon NFL) but the play on the field was like watching two bad major college conference teams play (low talent and bad coaching) and the few hundred fans in the stadium really took away the game vibe to being more of a prolonged practice. Not a good on field product.

  5. I thought the gambling would have me watching more but it didn’t. I place about a dozen bets a day during football and college basketball season but USFL was too hard to handicap and the play was too poor to watch.

  6. I am surprised. Thought the viewing numbers would be higher. The USFL has been entertaining. Check out the playoffs this weekend. I do think they need to get these teams playing in their own cities. That would provide more interest.

  7. I agree that the stadium needs to be filled more with fans. This adds significance to the game. Without fans, it comes across as a scrimmage game.

  8. I was a BIG supporter of these games, and thought it was a very good product on the field.

  9. Put the teams in their respective cities. I enjoyed the USFL 1.0 in the 80s. This isn’t the same thing.

  10. I’d go to a game but would be afraid my flight would be cancelled. And the last place that I would want to be stuck in is Birmingham, Alabama.

  11. The 715k viewers is cable and broadcast. Broadcast had 1 million avg viewers over 21 games, cable a little over 300k over 16.

    Bottomline – USFL did well competing with NBA/NHL playoffs, MLB and most tough – nice weather.

    Good fun football. Fun to bet, players playing hard. And we hope to see improvements in year 2.

  12. Absolutely give your money away. The odds of winning are very very slim, so take that money and invest in yourself. Buy a house, a second house, put that money towards your retirement. Be smart, don’t put your money in the pockets of billionaires, they already have enough.

  13. “The USFL averaged averaged 715,000 viewers.”

    If I have a million dollars, and you have $2, between us we average $500,001. Average isn’t really a very useful indicator here when…

    “he final game of the regular season, televised last Sunday by FS1, bottomed out at 181,000 viewers.”

    The product has lost 90% of its initial viewership over the course of the season.

    This product is dead in the water.

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