Audio, Access & Action: ESPN’s XFL 2023 Kickoff Weekend Cross-Platform Audience Highlights
235.6 Million Video Views of ESPN XFL Highlights Across ESPN, XFL & League Ownership Social Channels
Four-Game Slate Averaged 1.3 Million Viewers Across ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes & FX
ESPN’s exclusive partnership with the XFL continued with the 2023 kickoff weekend – centered on the pillars of audio, access and action – which was highlighted by innovative rule changes that led to exciting on-field action with last-second finishes, dynamic storylines and impactful social moments during a crowded sports weekend. It resulted in over 235.6 million video views of XFL highlights on ESPN, XFL and league ownership social media and significant interest across ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and FX.
“Our forward-thinking relationship with the XFL gives us the rights to share content in a multitude of ways across our expansive platform to better engage with all viewers where they are in the moment,” said Tim Reed, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions. “In addition to unmatched linear game distribution, we are also streaming every game live on ESPN+, providing fans in-progress highlights on ESPN social channels, streaming a weekly digital pre-game show and showcasing a behind-the-scenes docuseries across platform.”
Steve Ackels, ESPN vice president, production, added, “What you witnessed this weekend was the groundbreaking innovation the XFL and our coverage of the league will showcase all season long. From microphones to never before seen replay booth access, it was a new way to cover football. All of that led to fast-paced and engaging games.”
Russ Brandon, XFL President, added, “Evident from the breadth of viewership this weekend is the strength of our partnership with Disney and ESPN. Whether it’s their linear broadcast, live streaming capabilities, or on-demand programming, hosting our original docuseries, we are able to reach a global audience and captivate the modern fan base. I am proud of our players and coaches for the work they’ve put in to deliver competitive gameplay for opening weekend. With each week, player development and competition will only improve and we’re excited for what’s still to come.”
ESPN XFL on Social
ESPN’s XFL content resonated with fans across ESPN, XFL and league ownership social channels. Videos featuring highlights and other content from the telecasts generated more than 235.6 million video views across those platforms.
ESPN’s exclusive digital show for the league, XFL Today, featured a conversation with XFL vice president, officiating & rules innovation, Dean Blandino and an alternate presentation of the first drive of the St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas game to close out episode one with around 150,000 views and counting across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the ESPN App. XFL highlights were also featured prominently throughout Sunday’s SportsCenter on Snapchat and game recaps are available on ESPN YouTube.
XFL on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes & FX
The four-game slate averaged 1.3 million viewers across ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and FX. In the P18-49 demographic, ESPN’s XFL coverage averaged 458,000 viewers. ESPN’s coverage over the weekend peaked during the St. Louis Battlehawks vs. San Antonio Brahmas matchup from 5:45 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on Sunday with 2.3 million on ABC. The matchup overall was the most-watched of the weekend, averaging 1.6 million viewers.
|Saturday||ABC||Vegas Vipers at Arlington Renegades||1.5 million|
|Saturday||ESPN, ESPN Deportes, FX||Orlando Guardians at Houston Roughnecks||1.1 million|
|Sunday||ABC||St. Louis Battlehawks at San Antonio Brahmas||1.6 million|
|Sunday||ESPN, ESPN Deportes||Seattle Sea Dragons at DC Defenders||934,000|
Player 54: Chasing the XFL Dream
The XFL docuseries, Player 54: Chasing the XFL Dream, re-aired Saturday on ABC leading into the first game of the season between the Vegas Vipers and Arlington Renegades. The ABC airing averaged 696,000 viewers. The episode is also available on ESPN+.
Episode two will air Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2 and will be available immediately after on ESPN+.
Up Next: XFL Week 2
The XFL on ESPN schedule continues with Week 2, beginning Thursday with the St. Louis Battlehawks taking on the Seattle Sea Dragons (9 p.m. | FX, ESPN+).
The XFL is a fan-first, fast-paced global professional football league with innovative rules and an enhanced 360-degree game experience. Anchored in world-class football, the XFL brings entertainment and innovation to advance the sport, expand player opportunities, and change the way that fans experience the game. The XFL has eight teams in Arlington (TX), Houston (TX), Las Vegas (NV), Orlando (FL), San Antonio (TX), Seattle (WA), St. Louis (MO), and Washington D.C. The XFL is owned by Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson, and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital Partners and launched in February 2023.
ESPN XFL Media Contacts: Monique Fahlstedt ([email protected]); Michael Skarka ([email protected])