Debut of UFL on TV a success amidst busy sports weekend

USFL’s Successful Spring Football Coverage on Fox and ESPN Despite Concerns of Competition with NCAA Tournament and MLB Games

The USFL, a result of a merger between the XFL and NFL, opened its spring football coverage during a busy Easter weekend. This time slot was chosen despite concerns that it would compete with the NCAA Tournament and first full weekend of MLB games. TV numbers from Fox and ESPN indicate that this decision may have been justified as the league had a successful Week 1 with the top game being the St. Louis Battlehawks-Michigan Panthers matchup on Fox, which attracted 1.35 million viewers on Saturday afternoon.

Comparing it to the USFL’s numbers from the previous season, the UFL’s viewership was higher. Last year, NBC saw a high of 974,000 viewers in Week 1 for a Sunday game. The 1.35 million viewers for the UFL is also a 56% increase from the average viewership of all broadcast TV games for the USFL/XFL last season.

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 this number was lower than what XFL debuted with in its Week 1 on ABC and ESPN/FX in the previous season, it still represents a significant increase over last year’s numbers for broadcast TV games featuring both leagues.

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