There was plenty of competition this time around. The XFL had their playoffs this weekend, while the NBA and NHL both were in the thick of their own postseason grind.
USFL TV Ratings Analysis
Overall, the USFL did relatively well this week. There’s plenty of room for improvement, but the ratings have been quite steady through three weeks.
USA Network did much better than last week, which makes sense. Instead of two non-hub teams playing, the Birmingham Stallions faced off against the New Orleans Breakers – and viewership jumped from 133k to 293k. It’s not an incredible number, but it is an improvement nonetheless. Now, USA is certainly the weakest channel within the USFL’s TV infrastructure.
Saturday night’s game on FOX did decently well, and out performed the XFL’s playoff matchup on ESPN by 101k. Considering the matchup featured two 0-2 teams, that’s respectable.
Sunday’s a bit of a mixed bag. The NBC noon-slot is looking good, staying consistent despite two non-hub teams. Then, Michigan’s home opener on FOX only notched 563k – the lowest game on an OTA network this season.
There are some factors that played into this. The XFL had their playoffs going on, as DC vs. Seattle on ESPN saw 478k viewers. Meanwhile, an intense NBA game seven in Sacramento had almost 10 million folks glued to their screens.
While ratings on FOX haven’t blown us away, with the XFL’s season nearly over, they should see an uptick moving forward.
2022 vs. 2023
Last year, week three in the USFL had higher ratings by a small margin.
Tampa Bay Bandits vs. Houston Gamblers (FOX): 825,000 Birmingham Stallions vs. New Orleans Breakers (FOX): 1.1M Michigan Panthers vs. Pittsburgh Maulers (USA): 292,000 New Jersey Generals vs. Philadelphia Stars: Exclusively on Peacock
Looking at the big picture, the ratings are actually pretty consistent from week three in 2022, compared to 2023. The numbers from USA are nearly identical. Meanwhile, games on OTA networks (FOX) did better – but, there was no XFL competition. If the XFL wasn’t playing this year, we’d likely see at least one of those slots hit 1M.
Generally speaking, the USFL should be relatively pleased with the TV ratings they’ve seen so far. The numbers are up a bit from last week – and, they were dealing with heavy competition in the spring football scene, alongside the NBA/NHL postseasons.
Week four will present a very unique situation: no XFL games to compete with. This is the week we’ve all been waiting for. Are our assumptions correct that some XFL fans will relocate to the USFL this weekend? Or, are the two fan bases less connected than we think? We’ll have to wait and see.
What are your thoughts on these USFL TV Ratings from week three? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!