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ESPN Releases Week 2 XFL Television Ratings

Landry Jones throws a pass for the XFL Dallas Renegades.

CARSON, CA - FEBRUARY 16: Quarterback Landry Jones #12 of the Dallas Renegades sets to pass in the first half of the XFL game against the Los Angeles Wildcats at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 16, 2020 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The XFL suffered a bit of a drop-off in ratings from Week 1 to Week 2. That was to be expected.

The dip probably won't have the networks that have invested in the league, ABC/ESPN and FOX, too concerned though. For off-season football, the ratings have been pretty solid, even if the product is still not all that close to what fans are used to in the NFL. Paired with Week 2 attendance growth (a number that is admittedly noisy due to different teams hosting games), and the league should be pretty happy.

Last week, the two games airing on ESPN drew an average of 2.9 million viewers. The Saturday matchup between the DC Defenders, the Cardale Jones-led squad that may be the XFL's best, averaged over 3.3 million viewers. That had a natural bump from being the first game of the new league.

There was a fall-off from that game to this past Saturday's game between the Defenders and New York Guardians, but it probably won't be seen as too awful for the league. The Week 2 game, a blowout win for the Defenders that wasn't as exciting as the Week 1 game, drew in over 2.1 million viewers on average, with a peak of just under 2.4 million.

Unsurprisingly, Cardale Jones remains a huge obvious draw here. The potential XFL MVP is one of the most recognizable names in the league, and as the very Ohio-centric ratings breakdown above shows, he's bringing eyeballs. Perhaps the even more encouraging numbers come from the ABC game between two lower-profile teams: the Dallas Renegades and LA Wildcats. It looks like the Dallas area has done a nice job of adopting Bob Stoops' team.

Four more games are coming up this weekend. On Saturday, we have the Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2) hosting their home opener against the Houston Roughnecks (2-0) at 2 p.m. ET on ABC. That is followed by the Renegades (1-1) heading up to the Seattle Dragons (1-1) at 5 p.m. on FOX.

On Sunday, the St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) host their first game, facing the reeling Guardians (1-1) at 3 p.m. on ESPN. At 6 p.m., the Defenders (2-0) head out West to face the Wildcats (0-2) on FS1.