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OSC Weekly Ratings Wrapup

by David Carlson
February 12, 2020 - XFL (XFL)

XFL debuts stronger than AAF, even without being in prime time

The XFL came roaring out of the gate, with all three network games getting 3.3 million viewers, and healthy 18-49 demo ratings of slightly over 1.0. ESPN also did well with a 0.93 demo rating and almost 2.5 million viewers.

Those network ratings are very close to what CBS did last year with the first weekend Alliance of American Football telecasts on Saturday night prime time, where regional action of two games received a nearly identical 3.25 million viewers, but the AAF had a slightly lower 0.89 demo rating.

Compared to XFL 1.0 though, it is a much lower debut, as the household rating for the highest XFL game this year was a 2.1, while in 2001 the opening weekend of XFL action saw a 9.5 household rating and 14 million viewers. NBC experienced its lowest primetime household rating ever eight weeks when the XFL dropped to a 1.5 household rating. Of course, now almost 20 years later, a 1.5 household rating on a Saturday night is considered pretty good, so that comparison just shows how the expectations of TV audience sizes have changed in only two decades.

While it is a similarly positive start for the XFL, the XFL will have to show it isn't going to have the same loss of viewers that the AAF, XFL 1.0 and the Arena Football League on NBC suffered as the season rolled into March. Unlike AAF and the AFL which had rotating time slots, the XFL will have a very steady ABC 2pm Saturday time slot that won't change all season, much like Saturday night on NBC for XFL 2001. That will be the best metric for how the league is able to keep an audience.

In week 2 of XFL action, ABC gets 2 games vs. FOX having one, and FS1 will have the cable game as opposed to ESPN last week.

In other OSC league programming, Major League Rugby had a match at 8pm Sunday on Fox Sports 2. Despite having a lead-in that did make the top 150 shows (USA v Canada CONCACAF Womens soccer match getting a .10/307k), the MLR match did not make the top 150, losing at least 2/3 of the lead-in's 18-49 viewership.

Last Week's OSC Leagues Ratings Summary (18-49 demo rating/total viewers):

2/95pmMLRCBSSN(Not Nielsen Rated)
2/98pmMLR FS2Not in Top 150

OSC Leagues on TV in the coming week:

2/166pmMLRCBSSN (Not Nielsen rated)

Follow OSC TV and ratings discussion at

NOTE: Don't know what the "demo" is? Unsure of why the different ratings numbers don't match up? Read our explanation of TV ratings in our first article here.

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