The TV ratings are in for Week 5 of the USFL 2023 Regular season. The USFL averaged 622,000 viewers in Week 5 with three broadcast network games. In Week 6, the league aired two of its four weekly games on cable for the first time since Week 2.
USFL 2023 Week 6 TV Ratings On FOX, FS1, And USA
Week 6’s opening USFL game between the Pittsburgh Maulers and Memphis Showboats averaged 227,000 viewers. The 12:30 pm Saturday afternoon telecast on the USA network was rated 39th out of the top 150 cable TV shows in the 18-49 demographic.
The 4 pm ET Saturday broadcast on FOX featuring the Birmingham Stallions and Michigan Panthers averaged 732,000 viewers.
Sunday’s noon FS1 telecast between the Philadelphia Stars and New Orleans Breakers averaged 217,000 viewers. The game was rated 83rd out of 150 cable tv shows in the 18-49 demographic.
The final USFL game of the weekend, pitting the Houston Gamblers and New Jersey Generals, averaged 630,000 viewers at 4 pm ET on FOX.
The USFL’s Week 6 games averaged 451,500 viewers.
USFL Rating Analysis
Not a great week for the league in terms of overall viewership.
As evidenced over time, there’s been a clear difference and decline between cable and over-the-air network television games. A year ago at this time, the USFL averaged 731,000 viewers in Week 6, but that came from having three network games rather than two.
The sporting calendar is about to clear up with the NBA and NHL wrapping up their playoffs. So that could help the USFL draw in more eyeballs and attention in the coming weeks.
The issue right now is the USFL’s performance thus far on Network television. The league has had only one out of 16 broadcast network games in six weeks that have averaged over a million viewers. Their impressive 2.063 million performance a few weeks ago on NBC primetime. The Derby lead-in surely played a part in what is a brilliant strategy by USFL executives in trying to lure in new and casual viewers.
It’s safe to say that the league is in a mid-season lull for interest. But with all eight teams separated by only one game in the standings. There should be plenty of games in the remaining four weeks of the regular season that have heightened stakes and playoff importance.
Week 7’s slate of USFL games will have only one over-the-air network game with three cable telecasts. The only time you will see that this season. There will be two cable telecasts in Week 10. However, of the USFL’s remaining 16 regular season games, ten will air on NBC or FOX, which should help boost the overall numbers.
Week 7 USFL TV Schedule
Saturday, May 27
Birmingham at New Orleans (Birmingham), 4 p.m. (FOX)
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh (Canton), 9 p.m. (FS1)
Sunday, May 28
Houston at Memphis (Memphis), 2:30 p.m. (USA)
Michigan at New Jersey (Canton), 5:30 p.m. (FS1)
May 23, 2023 at 4:47 pm
I love watching at least 2 contests per week, but this weekend I might not get to see any. There are lots of cool things to do in the Spring. I really like the idea of having two more teams next year and having Monday Night Football.
May 23, 2023 at 10:39 pm
Good analysis Mike.
The cable games likely under performed by 50-80k each. The Sunday broadcastgame was going against great NE weather and while I was hoping for 700-750k the 632k they got was not unexpected.
However with the NE having a crappy weather day Saturday the 732k FOX game was disappointing. Having the last hour overlap the Preakness should have been avoided.
All that said… Cable was about 60k (avg below wk 6 2022). The daytime broadcast games were down 45k (on avg) and the big difference was 2022 had a primetime game that was on the stronger NBC and got 1196k.
Ironically I have XFL and USFL at 652/653k thru 6 week respectively- how’s that for another sping league parallel!
The bad and good coming up. Week 7 as you stated is on an summer (unofficial) holiday w/e, and only 1/4 games on broadcast. But weeks 8-Championship has only 3 cable, and includes 5-NBC with 2 primetime, 7-FOX with 3 primetime and should occur after NHL/NBA playoffs are wrapped up. Of course the TV football pie shrinks as we move deeper into spring and then summer.
And how about those Stars!
May 27, 2023 at 11:55 am
The USFL-XFL comparison after six weeks of play is interesting. In terms of ratings.
The USFL should have a much more higher average with 16 over the network games on NBC/FOX. The picture gets even more murkier for the USFL if you take out the 2 million viewer derby lead in game.
At this point. After six weeks. The XFL has had better ratings. .
May 27, 2023 at 11:18 am
Nice! The usually brief and to the point 4th & Long expanding on an article. I love it. You have lots of good thoughts. Share them more. This rocked..
May 28, 2023 at 12:06 pm
I have no belief that I know more than the people running the league and I don’t know what headwinds the league would be up against. It seems to me we are talking ratings that are below what we feel they should be. I know it seems that adding two more teams it would only water down ratings even more on a per game basis, but please read on….right now we are only in less than half the United States. San Diego needs a team in year 3. First they, have a really nice stadium in Snap Dragon. The way you increase ratings is to make your product relevant to people in the rest of the country. San Diego is a great fit. The NFL felt it was a good place a team and I am sure they were supported there until the NFL became so big that an upgrade was needed. There should be more than enough interest for a league that average 12k fans per contest. Since the climate is pretty much the same all year few people will say, ahh I can’t watch football, it’s such a nice day, because they all are nice days…all year round. If you can work Denver into the mix, we now have teams across the country. This will also show we are a league built in tradition, but also forward thinking as well. We could then have games on Monday/Friday (if needed) night allowing for the teams that play in warmer climes to have night games and to also open up new possible tv audiences. Think you have doubled the area of the league’s reach and now have opened up people who like football, but haven’t watched due to Spring family obligations can now watch. So you may have added clients and maybe they pick up on a team and now they watch a weekend game as well. Same thing with the west coast fans you pick up. I know this may cost. Maybe it’s time to sell the Generals to Derek Jeter. He got out of the Marlins because the other team officials and he had a differing of opinions. You can work the numbers with him, but say he bought the Generals for $15million, he could make all the decisions that you haven’t added to the league rules and you would not have to worry about placing them in Jersey, something that hasn’t really come to easy for the league so far. Maybe they could charge $15, $25, and $40 per ticket. Just some things to think about. I would not other teams couldn’t work, but I would definitely start with San Diego.
May 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm
It may be all pipedreams, but you have to admit. It sounds nice.