The early financial difficulties of the Alliance of American Football made it seem like the league would fail before it was successful. Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon had to bail out the AAF after he gave them $250 million to help pay the players.
The league might be struggling financially, but the AAF is having no problems in getting TV viewers.
The Sunday primetime game between the San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet had 515,000 viewers, which was up by almost 100,000 from the week before. The Saturday primetime between the Memphis Express and the Orlando Apollos was just under 500,000 viewers at 491,000. The over one million total viewers for the primetime games is an encouraging sign for a league that has struggled with financial problems early in its debut season.
AAF on NFL Network 2/23-2/24:
Saturday 8p: 491K (last week 424K)
Sunday 8p: 515K (last week 425K)
— Sports TV Ratings (@SportsTVRatings) February 26, 2019
The AAF has consistently been getting lots of viewers for its games, eclipsing the highest rated NBA game during the debut weekend. The league’s early TV success is partially due to the fact that football is the most watched sport in the country. Every week, NFL games are watched by over a million people and they are left with nothing after the Super Bowl in early February.
It is no coincidence that the AAF decided to start a week after the Super Bowl as the new league wanted to take advantage of America’s love of football. The Birmingham Irons are the league’s most interesting team as Alabama currently do not have any major professional sports teams. The addition of a football team to a state that loves football is only going to drive viewership up.
Having only eight teams in the league could make it hard for the league to get more TV viewers, but the scarcity of teams would make more people want to watch the games. The AAF seems to be getting over its early financial problems with the addition of Dundon’s money and has the TV viewership to be a successful league.