The USFL had a unique setup for broadcasting their inaugural game on Saturday night. Both FOX and NBC aired the matchup, with FOX taking care of the in-game broadcast, while NBC was in charge of pre-game, halftime, and post-game.
It was the first simulcast for a major sporting event since Superbowl I, which made it into quite the historic event.
According to the USFL and its affiliates, the game averaged around three million viewers, peaking at 3.5M.
The new USFL kicked off Saturday night in a historic simulcast on FOX and NBC – delivering a projected 3 million viewers across the networks and their streaming platforms.
This is not a bad start at all, and is in the same ballpark as the AAF and XFL openers (2.9M, 3.4M). Granted, the USFL was dealing with a bit more competition, as the NBA’s playoffs kicked off simultaneously.
Roughly the same as the debut of the AAF in 2019 and XFL in 2020. Circumstances not identical, though. USFL was simulcast on two broadcast networks. More informative metric IMO is where ratings go after Week 1 curiosity… https://t.co/IRaBGPnwFy
As long as the league can maintain decent numbers moving forward, the USFL will be in good shape. After all, the whole point of this first season is to gain a TV presence and leverage, before moving each team to their respective markets in 2023.
Only time will tell, but so far, things are looking up for the USFL in their debut season. With two games on NBC on Sunday, and a game on FS1 tonight, we’ll see how the numbers compare to the league’s debut.