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New UFL Debut on Television is a Hit During Busy Sports Weekend

Byeditor

Apr 3, 2024

The UFL kicked off its spring football season on Easter weekend, going head-to-head with the NCAA Tournament and the beginning of MLB games. Despite the competition, TV numbers from Fox and ESPN suggest that the decision to launch during this busy weekend may have paid off. The league, a result of a merger between the USFL and XFL, saw solid viewership numbers in Week 1.

The standout game of Week 1 was the matchup between the St. Louis Battlehawks and Michigan Panthers, which drew 1.35 million viewers on Fox. This exceeded the viewership numbers of the USFL last season, with NBC’s highest viewership in Week 1 reaching 974,000 viewers. The UFL’s 1.35 million viewers marked a 56% increase compared to the average viewership of all broadcast TV games for the USFL/XFL last season.

In another game on Saturday, the Birmingham Stallions and Arlington Renegades drew 1.18 million viewers on Fox, outperforming NBC and Fox’s Week 1 games from the previous USFL season. While the UFL’s numbers compared favorably to the USFL, they were lower than the XFL’s debut in Week 1 last year on ABC and ESPN/FX. The XFL, which began just after the Super Bowl, attracted 1.57 million viewers for its best game and maintained strong viewership throughout the season.

On Sunday, ESPN started its UFL coverage with 960,000 viewers for the game between the San Antonio Brahmas and D.C. Defenders. This viewership was significantly higher than what USFL and XFL games drew on cable TV last season. Later in the day, the matchup between the Memphis Showboats and Houston Roughnecks averaged 703,000 viewers, showing a steady interest in the UFL’s games.

By editor

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