The XFL Week 2 ratings were down but remained impressive. On Saturday, The Defenders’ 27-0 victory over New York averaged 2,127,000 viewers, while the Seattle-Tampa Bay matchup was watched by 2,324,000 on ABC and FOX, respectively. Dallas’ 25-18 win over Los Angeles drew 2,397,000 viewers Sunday on ABC. The FS1 matchup between St. Louis and Houston scored 1,359,000.
No conclusion can be drawn from the numbers declining from Week 1. The viewership for a newly-created league will always decrease in its second week as the novelty wears off. You start with X amount of viewers, in the weeks following Y drift off, and you are left with Z. We are still weeks away from knowing what Z will ultimately represent.
However, the XFL's second-week ratings were a win. The Saturday games were the two-most-watched events of the afternoon. Like with last week, the cable broadcast, this week's aired on FS1, carried the most credence. 1.4 million is 134 percent higher than the AAF's average on TNT (581,000). Translation: Viewers found the league on its fourth channel this season on its fourth day of action.
For cable comparisons, the FS1 matchup rated higher than the most recent NBA Friday night doubleheader on ESPN (one million average). AEW's Dynamite, which similarly launched this year, debuted to 1.4 million viewers on TNT. The following week the viewership dipped to 1.1 million viewers (122k came from truTV). Last week's airing drew 817,000 viewers, per ShowBuzzDaily. The unique wrestling promotion has settled around that number.
As the doubters continuously point out, it's early. Yet, thus far the XFL's viewership is at least on par with what other non-NFL and college football events average on the four channels (ESPN, ABC, FOX, and FS1).
The XFL isn't a gimmick, it has interest. The play isn't great, but it's not the AAF. It's worth watching on the weekends, which is exactly what it was designed to be.