April 15, 2024

UFL gets off to solid start in crowded sports weekend

The UFL opted to debut in a crowded sports weekend. The games, televised by Fox and ESPN, generated solid audiences.

Via Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, both Saturday games — broadcast on Fox — got seven-figure audiences.

The opener, between Birmingham and Arlington, averaged 1.18 million viewers. The later game, pitting St. Louis against Michigan, had 1.35 million viewers.

On Sunday, the ESPN-televised games drew 960,000 (D.C. at San Antonio) and 703,000 (Memphis at Houston).

The XFL had higher numbers in its opening weekend last year, with a pair of games in excess of 1.5 million. The USFL had lower numbers in its 2023 Week 1, with a high of 974,000.

The question becomes whether and to what extent the UFL will hold, or build on, those numbers. As noted by Karp, the high-water mark for the first week of the UFL represents a 56-percent increase over the full-season XFL and USFL average from 2023.

Chances are the Week 1 numbers will fall, because that’s what the numbers always seem to do when it comes to spring football.