The XFL wrapped up its first weekend and television ratings are starting to come in for the first four games. There was significant discussion on social media, but television ratings are what will help this new league sink or swim.
ABC broadcast the opener between the Seattle Dragons and DC Defenders on Saturday. That was followed by the Los Angeles Wildcats and Houston Roughnecks on FOX. Sunday opened with the Tampa Bay Vipers and New York Guardians airing on FOX and then the St. Louis BattleHawks and Dallas Renegades on ESPN.
The FOX ratings are not in yet, but we have ABC numbers for the Seattle-DC opener. The game averaged 3.3 million viewers and peaked at 4 million from 4:45-5:00 p.m. ET, according to ESPN PR. Seattle had the top local market, and it was interesting to see some midwest markets in the top five for local ratings:
Columbus, Ohio: 4.5
Kansas City: 4.3
Washington, DC: 4.0
By comparison, a year ago the AAF debuted to 2.9 million viewers on CBS. Things went south in a hurry, and that will be what is tracked in Week 2. The XFL has a strong television package, but will viewers continue returning? If the league can come close to maintaining Week 1 ratings, it will bode well.