Breaking Down XFL TV Ratings From Week Five

Breaking Down XFL TV Ratings From Week Five

XFL TV Ratings are here from week five, and they have taken another dip. We all enjoyed another fun week of XFL football – but, unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of people watching.

XFL TV Ratings From Week Five:

Seattle Sea Dragons vs. Houston Roughnecks (ESPN): 256,000
St. Louis Battlehawks vs. DC Defenders (FX): 320,000
Vegas Vipers vs. Orlando Guardians (FX): 234,000
San Antonio Brahmas vs. Arlington Renegades (ESPN2): 246,000

There are some internal and external factors to take into account here:

– March Madness. Clearly, the NCAA tournament has major national pull, which surely contributed to lower numbers. That being said, the XFL knew full well they would be competing with it. This was expected.

– ESPN+ numbers are not included. We have no idea how many people are using the streaming service, but it’s safe to assume it is a good handful of people. Is it enough to make these ratings look a bit more presentable? Who knows. Even if 100-200k viewers use ESPN+, that doesn’t fix everything.

– The XFL did not do themselves a favor with some of these start times. Two of the four games began at 10pm ET or later. Sunday night’s game started at 9pm ET. In a sense, these ratings are a direct result of the league shooting themselves in the foot from a promotional perspective.

XFL TV Ratings From Week Five, 2020:

Houston Roughnecks vs. Seattle Dragons (ABC): 1.54M
Dallas Renegades vs. New York Guardians (FOX): 1.49M
DC Defenders vs. St. Louis Battlehawks (FS1): 767k
Los Angeles Wildcats vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (ESPN): 833k

Of course, the landscape is way different now when compared to 2020. The XFL has no relationship with FOX. At the same time, the league has been pushed to smaller networks for the majority of the last few weeks (FX, ESPN2). On top of that, every game is available on ESPN+, which has over 24 million subscribers.

However, it’s hard to ignore the drastic dip in ratings. There are a lot of factors to consider, yes, but for three games to have less than 300,000 viewers doesn’t necessarily emanate the same level of confidence that fans had three years ago.

XFL and USFL TV Ratings Differences

What disappoints the most about the XFL’s mediocre ratings is that they aren’t any better than the USFL’s. In fact, they’re worse in many regards.

The XFL is playing in all eight markets this year. This should have given them an advantage, at least in theory. However, the league being pushed to small networks – often at late start times – is killing their momentum.

One has to wonder if Disney is as invested in the XFL as one would think. It feels like the XFL is being pushed to the backburner. It is no longer being prioritized by ESPN/ABC/Disney, hence why so many games are on cable networks at strange times.

The power and pull that was once in place in 2020 is gone, and it likely has a lot to do with different ownership.

We’re seeing the USFL pushing 29 of their games to national TV in season two, thanks to the strong deals they have in place with FOX and NBC. Clearly, the XFL’s infrastructure from a promotional standpoint does not hold the same weight. At the end of the day, these low ratings seem to stem from a lack of proper management within the organization itself.

Final Thoughts

Moving forward, we should expect to see a solid rebound with multiple games on ABC in week six. This is great news, and will give ratings a much needed boost.

Week six of the XFL begins on Saturday, at 1pm on ABC. The Orlando Guardians host the Seattle Sea Dragons as Terrell Buckley searches for his first win as a head coach.

What are your thoughts on these XFL TV Ratings? What does the league need to do to trend upwards? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!

  1. I will say from the start, I am biased towards the USFL. Even so I have watched every XFL game on ESPN+. IMHO the XFL have pushed the Female ownership as being a huge reason to turn in. Garcia grabbing much of the limelight [ making it all about her ] is a turn off. I am there to watch Football. Period. Having the coaches mic’d up is another turn off. A few of them whine and complain so much it’s over the top. Hearing the players constant wolfing and use of the F and N word does not add to the viewing pleasure either. Moving The Vipers without a home was a huge mistake as evidence of Cashman stadium. Yes the time slots chosen are another miscue made by management. 11am and 3pm Eastern should be the norm on the weekends, No Thursday night games. This is just my observation so far. I hope they get things turned around fast.
    Best regards, Scott Farley
    ArtilleryScott.
    @GSXstage1 on twitter

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