April 21, 2024 11:55 pm
Debut of UFL on TV a success amidst busy sports weekend

The UFL started its spring football coverage on a busy Easter weekend, competing with the NCAA Tournament and the first full weekend of MLB games. Despite concerns, TV numbers from Fox and ESPN indicate that the decision to start during this time may have been justified.

The league, which is a result of a merger between the USFL and XFL, had a successful Week 1. The top game was the St. Louis Battlehawks-Michigan Panthers matchup on Fox, which attracted 1.35 million viewers on Saturday afternoon. This is an increase from last year’s numbers when NBC saw a high of 974,000 viewers in Week 1 for a Sunday game.

Fox’s earlier window on Saturday afternoon drew 1.18 million viewers for the Birmingham Stallions-Arlington Renegades game, surpassing the numbers from NBC and Fox in the first week of the USFL in 2023. While the UFL’s numbers were up compared to last year’s USFL numbers, they were lower than what the XFL debuted with in its Week 1 in the previous season when they kicked off just after Super Bowl with their best game drawing 1.57 million viewers on ABC.

ESPN started its UFL coverage this past Sunday with 960,000 viewers for the San Antonio Brahmas-D.C Defenders game, which is an increase of about 119% from what USFL and XFL games drew on cable TV last season. Later on Sunday, Memphis Showboats-Houston Roughnecks game averaged around 703,000 viewers

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