The XFL Championship is behind us, which means that TV Ratings have arrived. It was one heck of an outing on Saturday night, as the Arlington Renegades took down the DC Defenders in thrilling fashion.
It turns out that quite a few people had the same idea, as the XFL Championship averaged 1.4M viewers on ABC. In addition, it peaked at 1.8M.
Breaking: The XFL Championship garnered 1.4M average viewers on Saturday night (ABC).
For comparison, the USFL's 2022 Championship on FOX notched 1.52M in July.
ESPN+ numbers not included.
— James Larsen (@JamesLarsenPFN) May 16, 2023
This is a solid number for the XFL. It’s the second highest rated game of the season. The only outing with a larger audience was the season opener on ABC, which saw 1.5M average viewers.
The XFL averaged under 600,000 viewers for their two playoff games on ESPN. Their Championship more than doubled that, exceeding expectations.
XFL Championship TV Ratings Analysis
There are some factors that play a role. First and foremost, ABC is an OTA network, which clearly has more pull than cable (i.e. ESPN, ESPN2, FS1). Secondly, ABC prioritized the Championship game, pushing it to a primetime slot on Saturday night.
In addition, the competition wasn’t too stiff at all. There were no NBA playoff matchups, which have proven to be a major factor in weeks prior. The USFL had four games this weekend, but none of those overlapped with the XFL Championship. The only “competition” was regular season baseball, and playoff hockey, which combined for over 3M on ESPN and FOX.
ESPN+ streaming numbers are not included in this final number, so it’s safe to assume that those would add even more depth. How much is unknown.
The only fair comparison we can contrast with in this situation, is the USFL’s 2022 Championship. That game aired on FOX last July, and saw 1.52M average viewers. So all in all, it’s clear to see the market for spring football caps out at around the same point.
Generally speaking, the XFL didn’t blow people away from a ratings perspective this season. The numbers were way down from 2020, which isn’t a surprise. The broadcasting landscape has changed quite a bit since then, and streaming services such as ESPN+ are now in full swing.
However, the league finished strong, posting a respectable 1.4M in their Championship, which helps alleviate some of the questionable TV ratings we saw down the stretch.
Now that the XFL season is behind us, the focus will shift to season two. Proper marketing will be key to the league’s future success. Can they generate more publicity and fan engagement in some of the markets which disappointed? Time will tell.
At the end of the day, the more spring football the better. The XFL proved that there is certainly a market for this sport, which has potential to grow…eventually.
What are your thoughts on the XFL Championship TV Ratings? Did you enjoy the game? Let us know down in the comments below, or join the conversation on Discord!