UFL fans finally had an opportunity to show their support for spring football on a weekend that didn’t require them to choose between NCAA basketball tournament action and the UFL games. Despite tough competition from the Masters on CBS, the NHL, and Premier League Soccer, the UFL games demonstrated a solid increase over both last weekend’s viewership numbers as well as the average ratings from one year ago for the USFL/XFL leagues.

This weekend also marked the first time that three of four games were televised on major television networks,’ rather than cable. The advantage of a network TV broadcast over cable is that ratings will always be higher since the networks aren’t dependent upon or limited by the number of subscribers.

D.C. Defenders v. Arlington Renegades
534,000 fans watched a thrilling come-from-behind victory with 4 seconds remaining on the clock, as D.C. Defenders kicker Matt McCrane nailed a solid 49-yard field goal to beat the Arlington Renegades 29 to 28. The Defenders are now 2-1 on the season while the reigning XFL Championship Renegades fall to 0-3. The game was televised Saturday afternoon on ESPN.

Birmingham Stallions v. Memphis Showboats
The Birmingham Stallions are currently undefeated at 3-0 and the number-one team in the league triumphed over the Memphis Showboats 33-14 in a game that was watched Saturday evening on FOX by 837,000 fans. Although the game was close throughout the first half as QB Case Cookus and the Showboats kept it competitive, by the third quarter the Stallions broke away and QB Adrian Martinez had his best game of the season completing 18/28 for 334 yards with two TDs, and another rushing TD.

Michigan Panthers v. Houston Roughnecks

On Sunday afternoon, 974,000 watched an almost perfect performance from Michigan Panthers QB E.J. Perry as he led his team to a 34-20 victory over the Houston Roughnecks. Nearly a million viewers were on hand to watch the Panthers offense score more points than any other team in the league this week. The game was televised Sunday afternoon on ABC.

St Louis Battlehawks v. San Antonio Brahmas

In the final game of the weekend, over a million viewers (1.023 million) watched the St Louis Battlehawks defeat the San Antonio Brahmas on ABC. The first loss of the season for San Antonio proved to be a costly one with QB Chase Garbers out for the remainder of the season with a wrist injury. The loss is an especially tough blow for the Brahmas since Garbers was off to an excellent start and posted a league-leading 70.8 % completion rate with 586 yards and 6 TDs.

As expected, the network TV ratings outperformed the game televised on ESPN. Perhaps most notable of all is the UFL game on FOX Sports Saturday night was the night’s number one rated program for the desirable 18-49 demographic. This distinction, in addition to the average per-game ratings increase, against stiff competition, continues to demonstrate the fans’ hunger for spring football.

This bodes well for the future of the UFL as more fans continue to learn about the league from word of mouth. As excitement continues to spread about the league’s exceptional field goal kickers, thrilling 4th quarter comebacks, an interception returned 98 yards for a TD, and the potentially game-changing onside kick alternative, more viewers will be inspired to tune in and ratings will continue to trend upward.

Check out next week’s exciting lineup beginning on Saturday afternoon with the Memphis Showboats taking on the St. Louis Battlehawks at 12:30 pm on ABC, followed by regional games featuring the D.C. Defenders and Birmingham Stallions at 7:00 pm on FOX Sports or the Michigan Panthers at the San Antonio Brahmas. Check your local listing for details.

On Sunday afternoon, you can watch the Arlington Renegades at the Houston Roughnecks at 1:00 pm on FS1.

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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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