XFL Opener Draws 3.3 Million on ABC

Getty Images_Scott Taetsch (2)
Getty Images/Scott Taetsch

The early viewership numbers from the XFL’s opening weekend are beginning to come in, and they look very good for the new league.

The league’s first game on its inaugural weekend, a clash between the D.C. Defenders and the Seattle Dragons, drew 3.3 million viewers on ABC. That number beats the 2.9 million that the Alliance for American Football (AAF) drew on their opening weekend.

Even better, the audience numbers peaked – 4 million – at the end of the game. Meaning, that the entertainment value and quality of football was good enough to keep and build an audience.

As Action Network Sports Business reporter Darren Rovell posted over the weekend, ticket revenues for the XFL before kickoff on Saturday, already beat the ticket revenues earned by the AAF during their entire season.

The AAF had a dramatic decline in viewership after earning that 2.9 million number after the first weekend. Though, as Pro Football Talk explains, a better television arrangement might prevent the XFL from suffering a similar fate.

“But the XFL has a much better TV deal than the AAF had. After that first AAF game aired on CBS, other games moved to TNT, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network and the streaming B/R Live service. The XFL will continue to air on ABC, FOX and ESPN throughout the season.”

The real test of the XFL’s success will come next week, after the numbers for their second week of games are released. If the league improves on that 3.3 number, then things are looking very good.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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