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XFL ratings take big drop in week two, hold up better than 2001

Vince McMahon's revival of the XFL saw its week two viewership drop by an average of 34 percent, but not nearly as much as they did in their first go-round in 2001.


Saturday's 2 p.m. Eastern game between the DC Defenders and New York Guardians averaged 2.146 million viewers on ABC, down 35 percent from the opening week. In both the 18-34 and 18-49 demos, they averaged a 0.6 rating, down 25 percent and 45 percent respectively.

Saturday's 5 p.m. Eastern game between the Seattle Dragons and Tampa Bay Vipers averaged 2.324 million viewers on Fox, down 29 percent from the same time slot in the opening week. The game did a 0.5 in 18-34 (down 44 percent) and a 0.6 in 18-49 (down 45 percent).

Both games beat all other sports programming, with the exception of the NBA All-Star Skills competition, in total viewers and the demos. They also topped all other network programming in both demo categories but lost in terms of total viewership to most other network programming.


The early Sunday game on ABC was their highest rated game of the weekend, averaging 2.397 million viewers for the Dallas Renegades vs. LA Wildcats. That was down 29 percent from the early Sunday game last week, although that game aired on Fox. In 18-49, the game averaged a 0.6 rating, down 40 percent from last week. The 18-34 demo number is not currently available.

The late Sunday game between the St. Louis Battlehawks and Houston Roughnecks aired on FS1, the first game to air on that network. It averaged 1.359 million viewers, down 45 percent from the late game last week that aired on ESPN. That's not a fair comparison as ESPN is in nearly 25% more homes and is a much stronger station overall. The number did beat most UFC events that aired on FS1 during their time there.

Sunday's late game did a 0.42 in 18-34 and a 0.51 in 18-49. Those numbers were 48 percent and 45 percent lower respectively from the ESPN numbers the previous week.

As compared to other sports programming, there was a lot of competition on Sunday as the biggest event of the NASCAR season, the Daytona 500, was scheduled to air against both games although it ended up being postponed. Pre-race coverage and a re-airing of last year's race averaged over 10 million viewers. The NBA All-Star game aired on TNT after the games were over and averaged over six million viewers.

The Sunday ABC game beat everyone on network TV in the 18-49 demo with the exception of the race coverage and the American Idol season premiere.

The 2001 version of the XFL saw their week two viewership drop by 52 percent from the inaugural weekend with continued decreases every following week.

Here's a look at the first two weeks of XFL ratings in detail: