ESPN XFL

(Heartland Newsfeed) — There has been much activity surrounding the XFL during and since its inaugural week of the 2020 relaunch, which has the sports world reeling.

Television ratings

Saturday: XFL’s ABC debut netted an average of 3.303 million viewers for the Seattle Dragons/DC Defenders game. Saturday’s late game on FOX between the Los Angeles Wildcats and Houston Roughnecks had an average viewership of 2.77 million.

Sunday: FOX’s early game between the Tampa Bay Vipers and New York Guardians netted the largest audience of the weekend with an average audience of 3.385 million. ESPN’s XFL debut between the St. Louis BattleHawks and Dallas Renegades netted an average of 2.495 million.

You know Vincent Kennedy McMahon is definitely glad he made that step back into professional football. Compare the overall audience of XFL vs. WWE over the past week:

  1. Vipers @ Guardians (FOX): 3.385 million avg.
  2. Dragons @ Defenders (ABC): 3.303 million avg.
  3. Wildcats @ Roughnecks (FOX): 2.77 million avg.
  4. WWE Smackdown (FOX): 2.547 million avg.
  5. BattleHawks @ Renegades (ESPN): 2.495 million avg.
  6. WWE Raw (USA): 2.168 million avg.
  7. WWE NXT (USA): 770,000 avg.

McMahon is well aware of the shortcomings in not netting as many as 4.5 million viewers for Smackdown, but the showing in the first week on FOX for the XFL is certainly cushioning the blow.

Firings

Shocking that there would already be a firing in the XFL already, but there is one to report. ESPN reported Monday that the Los Angeles Wildcats had parted ways with defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson as a result of the Wildcats’ loss against the Houston Roughnecks.

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Transactions and roster moves

There are a few transactions being reported off the wire, mostly from XFL insider Konnor Fulk:

  • Seattle Dragons: Acquired WR S.J. Green from the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts. It is a short-term deal until the end of the 2020 XFL season, where he will be open to participation in the 2020 CFL season for the Argonauts. Green has amassed 60 touchdowns and 10,222 receiving yards through his CFL career, with three consecutive seasons of 1,000 receiving yards with the Argonauts.
  • New York Guardians: Added CB Jeremiah McKinnon to their active roster. Was chosen in the player draft in October. McKinnon played four seasons in the NFL and was last active with the Cleveland Browns in 2018.
  • St. Louis BattleHawks: Added TE Connor Davis from the Team 9 practice team. The 6’8″ tight end, who formerly played for AAF’s Birmingham Iron, was recently with the team during training camp.
  • Moves to injured reserve: St. Louis BattleHawks move TE Cole Hunt to IR. Tampa Bay Vipers moves CB Shelton Lewis and Dallas Renegades moves DE Jonathan Calvin to IR.

Vegas odds to win XFL Championship

There are people who will say it’s too soon to predict who will win the XFL Championship in April, but that isn’t stopping odds makers in Las Vegas. Here is what odds makers are saying who have the best chances at winning the championship:

Week 2 matchups
Guardians @ Defenders (Sat 1 PM Central, ABC)
Vipers @ Dragons (Sat 4 PM Central, FOX)
Renegades @ Wildcats (Sun 2 PM Central, ABC)
BattleHawks @ Roughnecks (Sun 5 PM Central, FS1)

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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network and a contributing writer for My Sports Vote, Ambush Sports and Midwest Sports Network. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dogs Sparky and Buster.

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