The numbers are in and I think it’s safe to say that the XFL had a successful inaugural weekend. According to ABC, the kickoff game between the Seattle Dragons and the D.C. Defenders brought in an average of 3.3 million viewers. The kickoff audience peaked at 4 million viewers around 4:45-5p.m. It appears fans stay interested throughout the entirety of the game which is a great sign for the league and the networks.
The XFL is composed of eight teams: Dallas Renegades, D.C. Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, L.A. Wildcats, New York Guardians, St. Louis Battlehawks, Seattle Dragons and Tampa Bay Vipers.
Opening Weekend Attendance
Naturally, the XFL picked the four biggest markets to host the inaugural games. All markets delivered consistent numbers in attendance. Houston led all teams in attendance with 17,815. The Guardians came in second at 17,634, followed by Dallas with 17,206 and finally D.C. brought in 17,163 Defenders fans.
If you watched any of this past weekend’s games then you definitely heard the roars of the crowd on third down. You saw the lower bowl of MetLife Stadium in New York and Globe Life Park in Arlington packed shoulder to shoulder.
XFL games being broadcast on ESPN, FOX and ABC also help with the leagues popularity on opening weekend.
At the time of kickoff, Super Bowl 54 had concluded only 6 days prior. Usually this is when football fans enter the void of no meaningful football for 7 months, but with the start of the new decade comes new experiences. The XFL has a 10-game regular season schedule followed by two playoff games and the championship. If this league lasts the entire season, the XFL season will conclude on April 26 followed by the 2020 NFL Draft 3 days later. Football fans will have footballl year-round.
The XFL is expected to be a high-scoring league with the over/under often in the fifties. Both of Saturday’s games averaged a combined score of 52 with the lowest scoring games happening on Sunday. The Vipers only scored 3 points in their loss to New York and the league-favorite Dallas Renegades scored only 9 points in their loss to the St. Louis Battlehawks.
St. Louis Battlehawks
Before the season started the Fox Sports Radio Charlotte crew were asked to pick an XFL team to pledge their allegiance to. With the help of some of my App State radio friends, I chose the St. Louis Battlehawks. I wasn’t alone in my decision.
A movement has to start somewhere. Now would I say 8 people out of a school population of nearly 20,000 is the start of a movement? No, but this tweet got the attention of the best XFL team in the league (my opinion of course).
That tweet got some attention in Boone, N.C. and now I know a few dozen App State students and alumni how are on the #FlightSquad. I am in a group chat with some of these Battlehawks fans it’s great having a group who’s devoted to following St. Louis and the XFL.
St. Louis faced the Dallas Renegades who were favored (-9.5) and came away with an upset win in Arlington, winning 15-9.
You can view this weekend’s stats and scores here.
How long will the XFL last?
Hopefully the entirety of the season. The television numbers are identical to the opening weekend numbers of the failed Alliance of American Football (AAF) which began play on February 9, 2019.
I was out with a friend during the D.C. vs. Seattle game on Saturday afternoon. Everytime I opened Twitter, my timeline was filled XFL tweets and content. Nothing but reviews, videos, stats, etc. People were loving it! One way to see how successful you’re doing is by audience engagement and there’s not an easier way to do it than social media.
I tip my cap to the XFL social media department and the individuals teams’ social media accounts. They all did an amazing job interacting with fans and consistently posting content to keep their fans updated and engaged. By doing this they have some die-hard fans like this guy….
I am hooked on XFL football. My butt was in my chair and my eyes were glued to the T.V. all weekend. Vince McMahon might be onto something with this league. If anything, this will give players who don’t make it in the NFL a redemption shot like D.C. quarterback Cardale Jones.
This is the first day without XFL football and a lot of us are struggling.
Don’t be a hater. If you’re a football fan find a team and ride with them. There’s only one tweet I saw that perfectly embodied what XFL football is.
The XFL broadcasts really drew me in. Sideline reporters are able to interview players and coaches on the sideline while the game is going on. You can hear the officials’ conversation when they’re discussing a penalty. If a play is under review you see inside the booth and hear the full dialogue between the head official and the replay official. It’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before and I am here for it!
I don’t know how well the XFL will hold up as the season continues but I can only hope it makes its way all the way to the championship game- And I am not the only one who thinks this way.