It’s an initial success for the Saturday night debut of the Spring football league, the Alliance of American Football with their inaugural network broadcast winning the ratings night. The anticipated debut of the AAF took place in two cities: San Antonio and Orlando with CBS televising the San Antonio-San Diego game to most of the country, while the South saw Atlanta and the Orlando Apollos.
Steve Spurrier’s Orlando team won dominantly at 40-6 at Spectrum Stadium.
Sports TV ratings obtained The “flash overnight” numbers from the top 50 markets in the United States:
in non time zone adjusted Nielsen fast Nationals the AAF game on CBS averaged 2.913 million viewers b/w 9-11p.
— SportsTVRatings (@SportsTVRatings) February 10, 2019
The final numbers will be made available on Monday and may actually increase, slightly. However, the fact that the AAF had a split feed of games and it registered 2.9 Million viewers from 9-11 p.m. Eastern is very encouraging for the fledgling football league. This is especially, when the Orlando game with Atlanta was a blowout in the second broadcast hour of 10 p.m.
As was also pointed out, CBS won the night head to head with ABC’s national broadcast of the Oklahoma City Thunder – Houston Rockets NBA regular season game by an estimated 500,000 people.
There will automatically be references to the debut of Vince McMahon’s XFL Spring league in 2001, which debuted on its first Saturday night on NBC with a massive 10.1 rating. That translated 18 years ago to more than 9.5 viewers for their network TV debut.
However, the XFL’s ratings plummeted starting the following week and had fewer than 25% of that audience just a month later with the games still being shown on Saturday night’s on NBC.
The AAF will televise two more games Sunday afternoon/night with Memphis playing at Birmingham on CBS Sports Network and Salt Lake City at Arizona playing on the NFL Network. And moving forward, the Alliance will not be on CBS any longer, but rather their 24 hour sports cable network, along with the NFL Network and Turner’s cable, TNT, showing weekly games, as well.
CBS will show the championship game nationally in April.
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