XFL TV ratings continue downward slide

Photo courtesy: XFL

After a big debut, the XFL’s TV numbers continue to drop week over week.

Vince McMahon’s return to football saw big numbers the week after the Super Bowl with over 12 million people watching the first four games combined. Since then, the numbers have been sliding. The full report can be found here.

The drop from week one to week two was to be expected. Week one of every previous spring football league in the United States has debuted to strong numbers only to see their ratings drop off and eventually settle into a trend from there.

At this point, it’s hard to say where the XFL’s baseline for ratings will be. Even during week three, a drop off was probably expected by the league as it was the first time two games were on cable instead of network television as Sunday’s games were on ESPN and FS1. Before that, three of the four games every week had been on ABC and FOX (both games on Saturday on the national networks averaged basically two million viewers per game.) The final game of the week between DC and Los Angeles being a blowout certainly didn’t help viewership, either.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the XFL. In comparison, the AAF’s third week saw average audiences of 515,000 on Sunday and 491,000 on Saturday. This past week’s XFL games were still averaging over 1.5 million viewers per game. Their current numbers also compare very favourably to other competing sports properties.

It’s probably not unrealistic to expect to see the XFL’s ratings continue to dip with increased competition on the horizon in the United States in the form of March Madness. That said, McMahon is invested in this for at least a few years. It’s also possible the league could gain some momentum once the football starts to improve as teams start to figure out the nuances of the rules and develop their game.

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic. He is also a beer aficionado.