XFL Final Ratings Revealed for Week 1 Games, Highlighted by Vipers vs. Guardians

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2020

New York Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin (14) looks to make a pass during an XFL football game against the Tampa Bay Vipers, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Guardians won 23-3. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

The first week of the new XFL was a ratings success after providing football-hungry fans with an exciting and unique brand of action.

According to WrestlingInc.com's Raj Giri, the four Week 1 games averaged 3.12 million viewers over the weekend and did a 1.0 rating among the 18-49-year-old demographic.

Individually, the D.C. Defenders vs. the Seattle Dragons did 3.30 million viewers and a 2.07 rating, the L.A. Wildcats vs. the Houston Roughnecks garnered 3.29 million viewers and a 1.91 rating, the Tampa Bay Vipers vs. the New York Guardians did 3.39 million viewers and a 2.10 rating and the Dallas Renegades vs. the St. Louis Battlehawks reached 2.50 million viewers and did a 1.43 rating.

Each of the Week 1 games also drew more than 17,000 fans in attendance.

While the now-defunct AAF did similar television ratings in its opening week last year with an average of 3.25 million viewers over two games on CBS, the XFL has already far surpassed it in other measures, which could be a sign of sustainability.

Per Darren Rovell of The Action Network, the XFL has already exceeded the ticket sales revenue the AAF generated over the course of its entire season.

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Rovell also reported that daily fantasy sites DraftKings and FanDuel said the XFL's first games generated 20 times the betting handle of the first AAF games.

While the XFL is light on star power, several factors seemed to draw in fans and kept them watching throughout the weekend.

Some of the rule changes, such as modified kickoffs to encourage returns and the elimination of kicking extra points helped set the XFL apart from other leagues. There was also unprecedented on-field access, with viewers getting to hear plays as they were being called, plus instant sideline interviews with players after important moments in the game.

The original XFL debuted to plenty of fanfare in 2001 as well, but it was unable to maintain the ratings and ended up shutting down after just one season.

It is possible that the revamped XFL could suffer a similar fate, but early indicators are positive.