The AAF (Alliance of American Football) is off to a good start. The inaugural AAF games averaged a 2.913 rating during the 9-11 p.m. window, per Sports TV Ratings. This number topped the NBA’s 2.524 average during the same window for the Thunder-Rockets game on ABC.
It is important to note there is a big difference between the first ever game in a brand new league and a February regular season NBA game. This is not to say the AAF is somehow already more popular than the NBA, but it does point to the fact that there is initial interest in the start-up football league.
There is also a debate as to the overall numbers as ESPN is reporting it tied the AAF with a 2.1 overall rating. It had been reported the AAF topped the NBA game 2.1 to 2.0 in the overnight numbers.
Now the challenge for the AAF is to retain interest throughout the course of the season when the majority of games will not be played on CBS. NFL Network owns the AAF primetime rights moving forward. Here is Pro Football Talk’s take on the initial AAF ratings.
The big question facing the AAF, of course, is whether fans were curious to tune in as a one-time thing and will now tune the league out, or whether it can grow that fan base. For the rest of the regular season, the AAF will be on TNT, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network or the streaming B/R Live service, and it’s fair to assume that none of those outlets will ever get 2.9 million viewers for an AAF game.
But if the AAF can top 3 million for its championship game, which airs on CBS in April, that would be a strong indication that the fans are there. And that the AAF will make it to 2020, and maybe beyond.
AAF Primetime TV Games Now Move to NFL Network
The majority of the country watched San Antonio host San Diego, while the Southeast saw Steve Spurrier coach Orlando to a blowout win over Atlanta. CBS Sports will kick off Day 2 with Memphis squaring off with Birmingham at 4 p.m. Eastern. It is an interesting matchup featuring two former NFL players in Trent Richardson and Christian Hackenberg. NFL Network gets the primetime matchup of Salt Lake and Arizona at 8 p.m. Eastern.
As promised, the AAF is offering fans a faster version of football with fewer commercial breaks. The new league has stated its goal for each game is to keep it under two and a half hours.