Sports Business Journal’s Ben Fischer recently got quotes from FOX Sports and NBC Sports executives on their view of the USFL’s debut 2022 season. Across the board, both NBC and FOX are pleased with the numbers.
Spring football works, but how did the USFL compare to the AAF and XFL seasons? Fischer breaks it down.
“The USFL averaged about 715,000 viewers. USFL beat the Alliance of American Football in 2019 with an average of 556,000 viewers. The USFL was far short of XFL 2.0 in 2020, which averaged 1.9 million viewers.”
Fox Sports Executive Vice President Mike Mulvihill talks about the goals of the USFL 2022 season.
“All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS. … We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”
NBC Sports Executive Jon Miller says the USFL was profitable for NBC.
“The USFL worked for us on a bunch of fronts… Is it a profitable property? All things put together, I would say yes, it was a profitable property for us.”
Miller did bring up the attendance visual on TV. Low team loyalty due to playing in one location proved to be a problem there were aware of at both NBC and FOX.
“The attendance issue was something we knew was likely to happen because of the one location. … We’re working with (Fox) to address that for next year.”
The big question on fans’ minds is, will there be a 2023 season? All signs point to yes. Miller said.
“It did what we hoped it would do, and we’re excited to begin planning, once this season is over, to talk about 2023.”
The question is how the league will address the low team loyalty and attendance issues for 2023. We have proposed playing at least one game at a home location per team for next season. That does not seem likely, as keeping costs low is all part of the USFL for now until team owners take over franchises.
It will be interesting to see how the playoffs TV numbers do as this could carry over to next season. But one thing is for sure. The USFL will return for the 2023 season.
Stay with USFL News Hub for all the playoff coverage.
June 24, 2022 at 12:54 pm
Just want to thank you, Mark, for taking this newsletter up and informing us this year on the USFL. My brother and I both got Michigan Panthers shirts and jerseys and were REALLY hoping to have a chance to watch them play again next season. He and I both have childhood memories of when the USFL came out the first time way back when. In fact, we still have the Riddell Pocket Pro helmets from that eta as well as an old Michigan Panthers pennant. That’s why – and this is absolutely nothing against Dewayne Johnson or the coming XFL – we prefer the USFL to stick around more and not have Spring football saturated with two leagues and then risk losing it again.
June 24, 2022 at 1:29 pm
I watched the USFL in its first go round. The Generals and the Chicago Blitz (right?) were my teams. Man, the talent that started their career in this league. Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie, just to name a few. I must watch that “Small Potatoes”doc again on ESPN. I like how the league started small with number of teams and played in one location. Smart!!! I watched every game I could and I’m glad you put playoffs on Fox and NBC. I stream. I don’t do cable. I hope the USFL sticks around. College, NFL, USFL football year round! What’s not to like. Thank you and Gods bless.