The ratings for Week 2 of the XFL are in, and they’re mixed with numbers down nationally, but relatively high in four local markets.

The XFL viewership has dropped, according to the website showbuzzdaily.com. Even though the viewership on ABC, ESPN and Fox was over 2 million, it did drop below 2 million for the FS1 game. That could partly be due to being on FS1. It could also be partly due to initially being up against the Daytona 500.

That being said, it didn’t take the precipitous drop the Alliance of Ameican Football did last year. So, that’s a plus.

Another plus is that according to Michael Mulvihill (EVP of Fox Sports) in four major media markets — New York, Washington DC, Dallas, and Los Angeles — it did a higher rating share than all but one NBA and NHL team. That team was the Los Angeles Lakers. (Note that the LA XFL team did better than the Clippers in LA when the Clippers are a favorite to make the playoffs and win the NBA title.)

What does this mean for the XFL and its potential viability long term?

Television is the key to success in any sports league. What the local numbers mean is that fans may not want to watch all the games available to them every weekend, but they will watch their local teams. Grabbing a local foothold could lead to eventual national growth.

Everyone is looking at the national ratings. However, as the saying goes, you have to crawl before you walk.

This may also be a way to expand into the local television market and have local networks carry the league before baseball season begins. They can have them locally on the local networks and the national networks around the country.

Either way, the national ratings only tell part of the story. The XFL looks like it can be viable for the foreseeable future.

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