Ratings for the second week of UFL games are out and while there was an anticipated drop-off from the league’s premiere weekend, the figures are still impressive. 

On a weekend filled with lots of NCAA tournament action and Major League Baseball, the UFL gave fans plenty to cheer about with a thrilling last-second comeback victory, an interception returned 98 yards for a touchdown, and another sensational performance from the Michigan Panthers’ kicker Jake Bates.  

The Arlington Renegades vs. the St Louis Battlehawks game, televised on ABC Saturday night, drew the weekend’s highest ratings at 908,000. The Battlehawks defeated the Renegades by a close score of 27 -24.  Battlehawks QB A.J. McCarron threw for 248 yards and two touchdown passes to WR Marcell Ateman, who had 114 yards on four receptions. Despite losing the tightly contested game, Renegades QB Luis Perez nonetheless had an impressive outing, throwing 21/29 for 233 yards and one touchdown. Still looking for their first win of the season, The Renegades will host the D.C. Defenders next week.

The Birmingham Stallions vs. Michigan Panthers game, televised on ESPN Sunday afternoon, drew 903,000 viewers. Although the Stallions came out on top, 21-13, the Panthers’ strong defense made it a long afternoon for the Stallions by keeping them out of the endzone and forcing the offense to settle for field goals. Stallions kicker, Chris Blewitt was perfect on the afternoon, connecting on four field goals.

But the real star of the game was Michigan kicker, Jake Bates. After nailing a spectacular 64-yard field goal last weekend to win the game, fans were wondering if he could do it again. Bates delivered with two more long-range field goals, a 62-yarder and another from 52 yards. Although the Panthers dropped to 1-1 with the tough loss, there is much for the Michigan team to build on with a gutsy defense and this sensational young kicker.

The game featuring the Houston Roughnecks vs. the D.C. Defenders on FOX Sports attracted 849,000 viewers. In the final UFL game of the weekend, Jordan Ta’amu and the D.C. Defenders held off a 4th quarter rally by Reid Sinnett and the Houston Roughnecks to emerge victorious 23-18. Ta’amu passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including an amazing one-handed reception by the Defenders’ TE Briley Moore-McKinney. The highlight of the game for the Roughnecks was a stunning defensive touchdown when cornerback Corn Elders intercepted a Jordan Ta’amu pass and ran it back 98 yards for the score.  

Although the Memphis Showboats vs. the San Antonio Brahmas televised on ESPN Saturday afternoon drew the smallest crowd at 718,000, this was still significantly more than the weekly USFL average of 604,175 from a year ago. The Showboats lost an absolute heartbreaker to the Brahmas with three seconds left on the clock. For the first three quarters, the Showboats’ defense held Chase Garbers and the Brahmas offense scoreless while the offense built a 19-0 lead under the steady leadership of QB Case Cookus. The “Chef” carefully controlled the time of possession with several extended drives and was the team’s leading rusher with 58 yards on 9 attempts. But what should have been a decisive victory for Memphis turned into a last-minute stunner when the Brahmas scored 20 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to win the game 20-19.  

Considering that the league faced tough competition in the battle for the viewing audience, these ratings are pretty solid. Despite a drop in the overall numbers from one week ago, the ratings on ESPN remained steady. To put the ratings picture into perspective, it’s important to note that broadcast networks ABC and FOX Sports are always going to draw more viewers than ESPN which is limited by the number of cable subscribers. But even though the UFL games went head to head in competition with the NCAA Men’s Final Four along with Caitlin Clark and the NCAA Women’s tournament final, ESPN viewership numbers were comparable to last weekend.

Furthermore, with an average of 842,000 fans across all viewing platforms, the UFL viewership is up 38% compared to weekly per-game ratings of the XFL / USFL from one year ago. This bodes well for the league. As fans continue to catch on to the thrill and entertainment that spring football provides, these numbers should continue to grow.

author avatar
Sue Levine
Sue Levine spent the past five years creating and producing a successful weekly health and wellness podcast starring a wonderful iconic woman as the program host. As part of Sue's responsibilities, she scripted every episode and discovered a genuine love of writing. When the podcast ended late last year, she shifted the focus of her writing to covering pro sports. A passionate fan of NFL and UFL football as well as fantasy, she is delighted to be able to share her articles with other football fans.

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