The XFL ratings are in for Week 3, and it’s both good and not good.
When it comes to garnering a contract for the league, they will need to show sustainable numbers. The overall numbers are good. However, when you look week to week, it’s not good.
Saturday early slot*
Week 1: Seattle at DC (3.3 million)
Week 2: New York at DC (2.1 million)
Week 3: Houston at Tampa Bay (1.9 million)
Saturday late slot
Week 1: LA at Houston (3.29 million)
Week 2: Tampa Bay at Seattle (2.3 million)
Week 3: Dallas at Seattle (2.1 million)
Sunday early slot
Week 1: Tampa Bay at New York (3.4 million)
Week 2: Dallas at LA (2.4 million)
Week 3: New York at St. Louis (1.5 million)
Sunday late slot
Week 1: St. Louis at Dallas (2.5 million)
Week 2: St. Louis at Houston (1.4 million)
Week 3: DC at LA (1.0 million)
*Note: all numbers are approximate
The most important thing for the XFL to continue beyond at least this season — and even beyond the three-year commitment Vince McMahon promised — a television contract is crucial. It’s the thing that makes sports leagues money and exposure.
While the numbers are good for Week 3, the precipitous drop in each of the four time slots isn’t good. They’ve dropped around 2 million viewers each week in the first three slots, and about 1.5 million in the late Sunday slot. The drop likely won’t lead to a contract in 2021.
According to Jenna West of Sports Illustrated, McMahon is willing to put $500 million into the league for the first three seasons to keep it afloat. If the ratings keep dropping, though, ESPN and Fox may drop the XFL, because their contract is only for 2020.
Being on ESPN and Fox is key to success because they’re major networks. Without major networks airing the league in 2021, the league may not continue.