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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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XFL Title Game Scores 1.43M Viewers As League Prepares for Second Season 

  • ABC’s broadcast of the XFL championship was the league’s largest TV audience since its opening weekend.
  • The 2023 XFL’s average TV audience fell short of the the league’s pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Viewership for the XFL was down compared to 2020.
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

ABC’s broadcast of last weekend’s XFL championship game drew 1.43 million average viewers, the league’s highest TV audience since its regular season opening weekend. 

Saturday night’s title game on ABC and ESPN Deportes peaked at 1.8 million viewers, according to The Athletic. The XFL’s two opening weekend games on ABC in February averaged 1.5 million and 1.6 million viewers.

But viewership slumped after the first weekend, as the XFL’s 10-game regular season averaged 622,000 viewers per game on ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, FX, ESPN+, and ESPN Deportes. The eight ABC games averaged 1.13 million viewers.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s 2023 XFL drew fewer viewers than the league’s 2020 season cut short by the pandemic. The 2020 XFL—whose TV partners spanned ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, and FS2 had three million viewers during its opening weekend, followed by an average of 1.87 million viewers per game in its season that lasted just five weeks of play. 

And neither the 2020 nor 2023 XFL came close to replicating the success of Vince McMahon’s original XFL debut broadcast in 2002 of an estimated 54 million viewers on NBC. Ratings for subsequent games plummeted as the league folded after just one season.

The modern XFL competes with FOX’s USFL, as the two spring football leagues began overlapping on April 15. But for now, The Rock’s XFL is gearing up for a second season next year, which is further than the league’s 2001 or 2020 interactions ever reached.

“Renewals are going out now for ’24 season tickets, and we still have data coming in from this season,” Janet Duch, the XFL’s chief marketing and team business operations officer, told FOS. “What is the engagement? Where is the growth? For us right now, we are taking all the learnings from ’23 and applying them to ’24.”

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