Summary of ESPN’s Audio, Access and Action-Packed XFL Season
- ESPN is excited to partner with the XFL to apply learnings to advance the fan experience in 2024
- Successes include expansive coverage across platforms with unparalleled audio access, compelling storytelling, and sports betting incorporated throughout
ESPN recently concluded the successful 2023 XFL season, with our production efforts focused on audio, access, and action – which helped elevate the XFL’s innovative rules, quality football play, and dynamic storylines.
“The XFL season showed a high quality of play throughout – evidenced by the number of players signing contracts with the NFL or invited to training camps. We were thrilled to provide fans with incredible access to players, coaches, and league officials, while providing unparalleled access to audio,” said Tim Reed, VP, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions. “We seamlessly produced 43 games over 12 weeks – a testament to ESPN production. From sports betting to social media content to altcasts on ESPN+, we also continued to innovate to reach XFL fans. We have a lot of momentum as we go into the 2024 season, and we’re excited to partner with the XFL to take our learnings and help advance the fan experience even further.”
Russ Brandon, XFL President, said, “Our inaugural season was a success by all measures and we are pleased by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from fans, players, and partners. The consistent engagement levels we saw throughout the season is our proof of concept – that there is demand for spring football – and we are proud to have delivered on our promises of being fan-first, fast-paced, and innovative. We have built this league on a very strong foundation, and we will continue to build and grow as we plan for 2024 and beyond.”
- Expansive coverage across platforms: In addition to our linear distribution, we also streamed every game live on ESPN+, provided fans in-progress highlights on ESPN social channels, streamed XFL Today, a weekly digital pre-game show, and showcased Player 54: Chasing the XFL Dream, a fascinating docuseries. We also provided Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes.
- Unprecedented audio access: We continually pushed to share the behind-the-scenes story with fans through audio. With our Enhanced Audio Skycast, we placed live mics on six coaches, six players, eight referees, public address, sideline tablets, SkyCam and on Dean Blandino, XFL VP, Officiating and Rules.
- Storytelling on social: Given the newness of the league, our social media strategy focused on educating fans on the XFL’s players, coaches, and teams. We ended the season with more than 100M video views and more than 300M social impressions.
- Compelling field reporting: Sideline conversations with coaches and players brought immediate reaction after key plays.
- Sports betting: We were aggressive in our sports betting coverage, ensuring sports bettors had access to information throughout the games, including prop bets at the start, with over/unders, and hitting live lines after scoring plays.
ICYMI – XFL Championship metrics:
- The 2023 XFL Championship averaged 1.4M viewers on ABC & ESPN Deportes
- Audiences peaked in the final full quarter hour of the game (11-11:15pm) averaging 1.8M
- The Championship game saw the third-highest viewership of the 2023 XFL season, just behind the two ABC opening weekend games.
- The Championship game was our most-watched game of the XFL season on 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.