XFL's Week 2 Games on ABC Average 2.3M Viewers, Down from 2.9M in Week 1

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2020

DC Defenders quarterback Cardale Jones (12) looks to pass against the Seattle Dragons during an XFL football game, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Will Newton)
Will Newton/Associated Press

The XFL's television ratings reportedly fell from Week 1 to Week 2. 

According to XFL writer Mike Mitchell, the league averaged 2.26 million viewers across the Week 2 games that aired on ABC. Steve Desaulniers of CNBC noted that represented a decrease from the 2.9 million viewer average of the Week 1 games on ABC and ESPN.

Mitchell reported the Sunday game between the Dallas Renegades and Los Angeles Wildcats averaged just under 2.4 million and peaked at more than 3.3 million, while the Saturday matchup between the DC Defenders and New York Guardians averaged more than 2.1 million viewers and peaked at just less than 2.4 million.

It should be noted the Defenders handled the Guardians in a 27-0 blowout, while Dallas' win over Los Angeles came by just seven points in an exciting showdown.

Notably, Columbus and Cleveland were the top two markets for the Defenders' win, and four of the top eight markets were cities in Ohio. That is a testament to the popularity of former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback and national champion Cardale Jones, who is under center for DC and on the shortlist of MVP candidates in the early portion of the season.

Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com reported the four Week 1 games across different networks averaged 3.12 million viewers.

The dropoff in viewership totals was to be expected. After all, there is always an element of curiosity when a new league debuts, and this edition of the XFL featured a number of new rule changes such as modified kickoffs, no kicking extra points and the ability to go for three points following a touchdown.

There was plenty of fanfare for the opening games of the original XFL and now-defunct Alliance of American Football as well, but that eventually fizzled out before the leagues folded.

Even though there was a drop in the viewership numbers, there was still notable interest. Darren Rovell of the Action Network reported DraftKings and FanDuel had a higher betting volume for Week 2 games than those of Week 1.

That surely helped contribute to what Mitchell called "good numbers" for the Week 2 ratings even though they were lower than the opening games.

The XFL season continues Saturday when the Houston Roughnecks take on the Tampa Bay Vipers and the Renegades face the Seattle Dragons. Sunday features games between the Guardians and St. Louis BattleHawks, as well as the Defenders and Wildcats.

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