There’s a lot to break down here. Overall, this was a successful week for the USFL on FOX and NBC networks.
USFL TV Ratings Analysis
Let’s start with the number on FOX: 521,000. This is the lowest rated game on an OTA network for the USFL across both seasons, which isn’t ideal at first glance.
However, as always, there’s factors to take into account. Both teams featured in this game are non-hub teams. There’s virtually little to no advertising or marketing in non-hub markets. While there is plenty of room for improvement, it’s tough to expect a large amount of viewers for teams that simply aren’t in their actual cities yet.
Now, the USFL blew everyone away with their Saturday night performance on NBC. Michigan vs. Memphis averaged over 2 million viewers, the first time a USFL game hit that number since week one of 2022. On top of that, it was the highest rated game since the 2022 Championship.
Excellent TV ratings for the most part from the #USFL:
– Saturday night on NBC: highest rated game since 2022 Championship – Sunday night on FS1: highest rated USFL game on cable since week 1 of 2022
In addition, the NBA playoffs were a factor. Los Angeles vs. Golden State averaged over 8.3M viewers on ABC, which makes the USFL’s 2.063M that much more impressive. FOX also had a primetime MLB matchup which garnered 2.084M.
FOX Sports and NBC continue to ensure that the USFL is a priority. Saturday night is an example of just that, as the Kentucky Derby led right into their game on NBC. High quality lead-ins is something that the USFL can continue to benefit from, as it was utilized to perfection this weekend.
NBC’s Sunday afternoon slot averaged 828,000 viewers. This is pretty consistent with the OTA numbers we’ve seen throughout the season so far. It isn’t spectacular by any means – but, once again, two non-hub teams were featured (New Jersey vs. New Orleans).
Another encouraging number is FS1, being the highest rated cable game of the USFL season. In fact, it’s the largest number we’ve seen on cable for the USFL since week one in 2022. This is extremely encouraging to see, and it goes to show that the league is taking strides forward on cable, as well as OTA.
USFL TV Ratings From Week Four, 2022:
Michigan Panthers vs. Philadelphia Stars (FS1): 207,000
New Jersey Generals vs. Pittsburgh Maulers: Peacock Exclusive
Birmingham Stallions vs. Tampa Bay Bandits (FOX): 1.05M
New Orleans Breakers vs. Houston Gamblers (NBC): 1.15M
Overall, week four in 2022 is relatively consistent with 2023. It’s a bit of a different landscape this time around, due to more hubs and an altered TV schedule.
Overall, it was an excellent weekend of football for the USFL. The TV ratings saw tremendous growth, which was expected with no XFL competition.
At the same time, the league planned things out efficiently, with Kentucky Derby and NASCAR lead-ins, which certainly boosted numbers. Additionally, three of the four games were broadcasted on OTA networks, which is something FOX and NBC emphasized this season. Clearly, the two most encouraging TV ratings from this weekend were NBC and FS1.