Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Vipers

Tampa Bay fans tune in for opening weekend of XFL

The Vipers-Guardians game is also the most watched game nationally in Week 1.
XFL television ratings are strong through the opening weekend, with the Vipers' first game doing best nationally. [STEVE LUCIANO  |  AP]
XFL television ratings are strong through the opening weekend, with the Vipers' first game doing best nationally. [STEVE LUCIANO | AP]
Published Feb. 11

The opening weekend of the rebooted XFL lived up to expectations, at least in terms of television viewers.

Saturday afternoon’s Seattle Dragons-D.C. Defenders opener drew 3.30 million fans, surpassing the Alliance of American Football’s season opener of 3.25 million, according to Sports Media Watch.

A day later the Tampa Bay Vipers-New York Guardians game had the highest ratings of the weekend nationally, averaging 3.39 million viewers.

“I’m just excited that the league has afforded these players the opportunity to continue playing the game that they love,” Tampa Bay coach Marc Trestman said Tuesday. “I think the league showed itself really well. I’m excited about playing these games and the level of competition we saw throughout the weekend.”

A FOX Sports release said the Vipers game in the Tampa Bay market (5.6 share) doubled the national average. For every household that was watching TV at the time of the game, seven percent of those houses were tuned into the game. In the Tampa Bay market, 14 percent of houses were watching the home team play in New York.

Ratings from the three broadcast television XFL games exceeded viewership for Duke-North Carolina men’s basketball (2.67 million on ESPN) and Lakers-Warriors (2.88 million on ABC). Sports Media Watch also said the XFL games were the most-watched sporting events of the weekend by adults in the 18-49 age group.

When the original league debuted on NBC in 2001, 15.7 million watched. But even though XFL 2.0 didn’t come close to those numbers, it didn’t dampen excitement from around the league.

“It’s encouraging,” Vipers receiver Dan Williams said. “It’s good (publicity) and good exposure for everybody. You’re your own brand.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

  1. Tampa Bay Vipers defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville drove race cars in between football stints over the years.
  2. Tim Tebow, who is in spring training with the Mets, says he wants to be "all in" on baseball.
  3. A closeup detail view of the XFL ball. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
  4. Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Taylor Cornelius warms up before last week's XFL opener at the New York Guardians.
  5. Tampa Bay Vipers wide receiver Daniel Williams (81) runs off the line during an XFL football game against the New York Guardians, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. The New York Guardians won 23-3.
  6. Former USF quarterbacks B.J. Daniels, left, and Quinton Flowers, right, could square off when Seattle plays host to Tampa Bay in an XFL game Saturday.
  7. Tampa Bay Vipers defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville would prefer to use just one headset to relay plays, but in Sunday's opener he had to use two.
  8. Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Aaron Murray calls out a play before the ball is snapped during Sunday's season opener against the New York Guardians in East Rutherford, N.J.
  9. XFL television ratings are strong through the opening weekend, with the Vipers' first game doing best nationally.
  10. Two of the more unique features to the XFL game between Tampa Bay and New York in MetLife Stadium on Sunday: The innovative kickoff alignment and the challenge of filling NFL stadiums.
  11. Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Aaron Murray (11) hands the ball of to running back Jacques Patrick (29) during an XFL football game against the New York Guardians on Sunday.
  12. Tampa Bay Vipers wide receiver Ryan Davis (18) warms up during practice at Plant City Stadium in Plant City, Florida on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement