American football league the XFL’s opening weekend surpassed expectations in terms of ticket demand, with the Houston Roughnecks forced to open six additional sections at the 40,000-capacity TDECU Stadium.

Over the weekend, the DC Defenders drew 17,163 fans for their game against Seattle Dragons at the 20,000-seat football specific Audi Field, while the Houston Roughnecks attracted a crowd of 17,815 for their clash with Los Angeles Wildcats at TDECU Stadium.

Elsewhere, the New York Guardians drew 17,634 fans to their home game against the Tampa Bay Vipers at the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium (pictured) and the Dallas Renegades attracted 17,026 fans for their home game against the St. Louis Battlehawks at the revamped Globe Life Park in Arlington.

The XFL is an eight-team American football league created to fill the void between NFL seasons.

Sports Illustrated points to the XFL’s partnership with Elevate Sports Ventures as the reason behind its ticket sales strength, after taking more than 2,000 season ticket sales deposits following news of its foundation.

Elevate, which is a joint venture of the San Francisco 49ers, Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and the Oakview Group, used data, digital marketing strategies and applications to drive sales for the league’s eight teams.

The XFL is owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and has teams in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St Louis, Seattle, Tampa and Washington DC.

The league is the successor to the previous XFL, which was run by the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) and US network NBC and only lasted for a single season in 2001.

Darren Rovell, a sports business analyst who works for The Action Network, reported that the upstart league had “already surpassed ticket sales revenue for the entire season of the AAF.” The Alliance of American Football (AAF) was a professional American football league that filed for bankruptcy in April 2019 after just eight weeks of play, although it should be noted it also attracted impressive attendances in its opening weekend.

Image: Anthony Quintano