The XFL Ushers in Spring Football. Can it Also Bring in Attendance and Ratings?

February 21, 2023
Patrick Rishe

The 2023 Super Bowl has come and gone. While that TV ratings bonanza is over, officially marking the end of the 2022-2023 NFL season, plenty of action remains on the gridiron. Spring football is here with the XFL. Eight teams play a ten-week schedule, plus a semifinal and a championship round ending May 13, 2023. That’s a lot of additional action for football fans. Four contests occurred on the first weekend of play, Feb 18-19th. Suite Talk’s Patrick Rishe followed the matchups and had some takeaways.

“For the first weekend of the season, attendance in Arlington, Houston, San Antonio, and D.C., three of those four markets had average attendance around twelve, thirteen thousand,” Rishe said. “San Antonio was the one that really stood out with attendance of over twenty-four thousand.”

Do these attendance figures spell good news for fan interest in the XFL? Rishe pointed out that San Antonio is the only market of the four that does not have a pro football team. “So, to see them generate over twenty-four thousand in ticket sales, that is a good number, and hopefully, it bodes well for the next few weeks of the XFL season.

In the plus column for the XFL: there will be television coverage of many of the games this season on ESPN and ESPN +. And Rishe mentioned a loose alliance with the NFL brings additional support to the XFL and could help increase interest and ratings.

Still, there are some challenges for the XFL to overcome. “There isn’t as much community connection,” Rishe said. “When the St. Louis BattleHawks opened their season in 2020, there was a huge grassroots marketing campaign. And you’re not seeing that because of the central base with these teams prepping down in Texas before they go out to their respective markets. It’s a cost-cutting measure, but ultimately, I worry about the connection with communities. And this year, the XFL will be up against the USFL, the other iteration of spring football.”

Article by: James Kent

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