XFL: End of year (and mid season) review

With 5 weeks down, it was announced the XFL would come to a premature end due to the outbreak of COVID19. With 5 weeks left unplayed in the regular season , has the XFL done enough to make a return next year?

Attendance

In week 5, 64,246 people turned up to the 4 games across the weekend. This is the second lowest attendance following week 1. The downturn in viewership is likely caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (especially at the Seattle grounds) . In one sense, it was the right call to pull the plug so early on on the remaining season as it saved the attendances drop further. It did leave us with a lot of guessing. But like near all professional sports, attendances are the key financial factor, TV deals is.

Viewership

Viewership peaked in week 1 and has continued to decrease ever since. Week 1 numbers were above 3.1 million. This number had halved by week 5. This is not a good sign. ANd this was at the start of the league when there was no competition with the MLB season or march madness . There is a viable market for XFL if the numbers do settle out around 1 million but at this moment this is looking like a best case scenario. I think the XFL will be around next year and if it wants to survive for more years after this, it needs to secure a TV audience.

Can the XFL be a feeder team to the NFL ?

As a whole, I think one can say that the football has been good. Multiple NFL teams are reportedly looking at P.J Walker and Jordan Ta’amu after strong starts to their XFL careers. Donald Parham has been very impressive at tight end as is Cam Phillips led the league in receiving touchdowns at 10 over the first 5 games. If players can make the jump to the NFL and impress, it will increase interest in the league and likely the NFL will have more reasons to keep it around.

The important thing to take from the XFL debut year is that it did not go to play at all. But not due to the XFL’s internal operations or workings. We have seen a small sample size of what this league could become if it manages to survive the coming years. And really this is the most important part. It needs to first survive and create a stable base with a regular fanbase and exciting football before the league can flourish. Year one will be viewed as a failure in many eyes. However, it will allow the league to adjust for year 2 to avoid following in the AAF’s paths 12 months earlier never make it that far.