Football season in America just got extended from February to April.
The second iteration of the XFL pro football league made its debut on Saturday. Judging by the results of a February 10 CivicScience survey of 1,860 Americans (ages 13+), the new XFL was warmly received by a solid number of viewers.
About 17% of respondents said they tuned in to the new league at some point during its four-game opening weekend, with a strong majority of them enjoying what they saw. An additional 22% said they didn’t watch the weekend’s games, but they might tune in to the XFL in the future.
The big question for the XFL as it headed into opening weekend was whether the new league could capture the interest of football fans from the NFL and the NCAA. It turns out that about one-fifth of NFL fans gave the XFL a shot, and most of them liked it. Another 30% of NFL fans are still on standby, presumably waiting to see how the new league continues to unfold. On the other hand, if a person is not an NFL fan, chances are that they’re not an XFL fan either: 87% of those who aren’t NFL fans said they’re flat-out “not interested” in the XFL. And when it comes to college football fans, the numbers are even more positive for the XFL:
As one might expect, men were way more likely to have watched the XFL than women, and also more likely to plan to watch in the future. Conservatives and moderates were also much more likely to have watched the XFL than liberals. Income did not play a huge role, though Americans with yearly incomes above $100K showed the most interest.
As far as age goes, younger Americans were more likely to have watched the XFL’s debut and more likely to be interested in watching the league in the future, particularly Millennials (ages 25 to 34). This is essentially the opposite of the NFL’s situation, where older Americans express the highest levels of interest. However, one point of concern for the XFL is that younger people were more likely to be disappointed with the league after having watched it.
It seems that the new XFL appeals to a specific cross-section of Americans — particularly younger, conservative- or moderate-leaning men with high yearly earnings and a pre-existing love for the sport of football.