--XFL Press Release--
STAMFORD, CONN., February 7, 2001 - The XFL had a strong start to its season, exceeding the league's attendance and TV ratings expectations for the first weekend, and delivering an entertaining product to fans.
The league is today releasing the official numbers from last weekend and they speak for themselves:
140,461, an average of 35,115 for each of the league's four
Ratings: A 9.5 on NBC on Saturday night and a 3.1 on UPN on Sunday afternoon for a cumulative 12.6 with a stunning cumulative 13.5 among males 12-34, 18-34 and 18-49. In total, more than 54 million unique viewers watched the XFL last weekend.
"It was a great kickoff for our first season and it gives us a strong foundation on which to build," said XFL President Basil V. DeVito, Jr. "We've got 11 more weeks of football ahead of us and everyone associated with the league is truly energized."
Here are some first weekend highlights:
140,000 fans attended the four XFL games in Las Vegas, Orlando, San Francisco and Birmingham. In Birmingham, more than 15,000 tickets were purchased the day of the game, and in Orlando, some 2,000 people were turned away. All together, there were capacity crowds in San Francisco, Las Vegas and Orlando. The game-by-game breakdown:
Francisco (Pac Bell Park) 38,253
Orlando (Citrus Bowl) 36,503
Birmingham (Legion Field) 35,321
Las Vegas (Sam Boyd Stadium) 30,384
As a sign of broadening fan interest, ticket sales around the league have been brisk since the first games were played. As examples:
Saturday, Las Vegas has sold an additional 400 season tickets.
Los Angeles sold more than 1,000 tickets since Saturday.
Orlando sold 200 season tickets and 800 individual tickets since Saturday.
Memphis sold 1,300 tickets since Saturday and had its biggest ticket sales day ever.
The large number of fans who turned out to opening weekend games had a great time. Here are some examples as culled from newspaper reports:
"Game scores big with fans," read the headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which quoted Mike Bayreder of Henderson, NV. He said, "It's been great. It's everything that was advertised. It's quality football." The paper also reported that crowds outside the stadium could be heard chanting for the Outlaws about two hours before game time.
From San Francisco came a report in the Los Angeles Times quoting Mike Mitchell of Stockton, CA, who said, "It's a great game. It's affordable, it's fun, it's fast-paced."
USA Today, Jeff Eakin of Stevenson, AL, when asked what he liked
most about the (Birmingham-Memphis) game said, "The hard
According to a New York Post report, Will Fowler of Orlando said, "It's been excellent. I didn't really know what to expect, but there hasn't been anything disappointing. I like it. The cheerleaders, everything, I'll be back."
Both NBC and XFL officials were targeting opening night ratings of between 4.0 and 4.5. Instead, the national rating was 9.5, making it the highest rated Saturday night on NBC since September 30, 2000. The rating almost doubled NBC's Saturday night January 2001 national average, more than doubled the rating of Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl and NBC easily posted a primetime ratings victory over the other networks. Most importantly, in the highly sought after males 12-34 demo, the rating was 10.3.
It was more of the same on Sunday when the XFL made its debut on UPN. The national rating for the telecast was 3.1, easily eclipsing UPN's normal ratings for that time period despite the fact the game went up against such sports attractions as the NFL Pro Bowl, NHL All-Star Game, a strong NBA doubleheader and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Golf Tournament. Among men 18-49, the rating was a solid 3.4.