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Week Five XFL attendance numbers bring good news, bad news, and a question

With the coronavirus keeping lots of people at home and causing multiple major events to be canceled, the XFL’s worst attendance week was still perhaps the best the league could have hoped for.

Officially, 64,246 attended the four games this weekend. That’s more than 5,500 fewer than the prior low for the year (Week One), which was the only other weekend without a game played in Seattle or St. Louis, where more than 20,000 (and nearly 30,000) have showed up for every game.

Given the COVID-19 concerns, 64,246 nevertheless represents a strong to quite strong number. Which makes the bad news, given the circumstances, good news.

But there’s still a question mark, one that hasn’t previously emerged during the first half of the XFL season but that merits mention. As some NFL teams (like the Falcons) have done in order to put a better number into the mainstream discourse, the Week Five numbers possibly reflect the tickets that were distributed, not the actual number of people who showed up and used them.

In L.A., the attendance barely dropped from Week Three’s 12,211 to 12,181. Images of the stands at Dignity Health Sports Park don’t seem to mesh with that number. Ditto for the 16,000-plus who supposedly showed up for the D.C. Defenders third home game of the year.

Regardless, people were at the games. We’ll find out soon whether the ratings, which have dipped since Week One, have stabilized. With NCAA basketball taking center stage next weekend and holding it for the three weekends thereafter, it’s not going to get any easier to capture eyeballs.