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XFL vs NFL: Revenue, Salaries, Viewership, Attendance and Ratings

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated February 23, 2023
15 min read

Fans of pro football must be in pigskin heaven in 2023 as the NFL enters its offseason while one of the ‘other’ pro leagues – the XFL – makes its triumphant return after a pandemic-induced stoppage in 2020 led to its new star-studded ownership group taking charge.

Though both leagues make a living off the game of football, each does it a bit differently in terms of the rules on the field as well as the revenue, salaries, viewership, attendance, and ratings, with the NFL being the reigning champion and the XFL the young, strong, spring challenger.

Here we break down all the different ways these two groups approach the sport and business of football on their way to bringing fans and sports bettors the best possible football product.

XFL vs NFL Comparison Table





$20 million

(2020, partial season)

$17.19 billion

(2021 full season)

Average Player Salary



Rookie Minimum



Average Head Coach Salary


$6.692 million

Ticket Price

$40 USD

$151 USD

Highest-Paid Player

QB Brett Hundley, $200k

Aaron Rodgers $50.3 million

Average Viewership


14.8 million viewers per game (2022)

Average Attendance





16.7 million in 2022, compared to 17.1 million in 2021, down 3%

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On-Field Differences Between the NFL and the XFL

Most of the rules that the NFL and XFL follow on the field are the same, but here are some of the major differences between how these two leagues of pro football teams will play:

  • Teams / Divisions / Rosters: The NFL is made up of 32 teams split into two conferences (AFC and NFC) and eight divisions, each team with a 53-man active roster; the XFL is made up of 8 teams split into two divisions (North and South), each team with a 51-man active roster.

  • KICK OFFS: The NFL kicks off from the 35 yard line and the ball is placed on the 25 after a touchback; in the XFL they kick off from the 30 and only the kicker and returner can move until the ball is caught or after the ball has been on the ground for at least three seconds.

  • RECEPTIONS: In the NFL, a reception requires two feet and possession of the ball; in the XFL, they will play by college rules and players will need to maintain possession with only one foot inbounds for a catch to be considered legal.

  • PATS: After an NFL TD, teams can kick from the 15 yard line for an extra point or go for two points from the two yard line; after an XFL TD, teams can go for one point from the two yard line, two points from the five-yard line, or three points from the 10-yard line.

  • CHALLENGES: NFL coaches are allowed two challenges per game with the possibility of a third, but only certain plays or actions can be challenged; XFL coaches will be given one challenge per game, but it can be about any possible play including judgement calls.

  • ONSIDE KICKS: The NFL allows for onside kicks to help a team gain a quick turnover; the XFL allows onside kicks but in the 4th quarter they also have the option to convert a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25 to retain possession and keep the offense on the field.

  • OVERTIME: NFL overtime involves a coin toss for the ball with an extra 10-minute period and if the first team scores a TD the game is over; in the XFL, tied games at the end of regulation will result in alternating attempts from the opponent's five-yard line.

XFL vs NFL: Revenue

Which League Makes More Money: the XFL, or the NFL?

The NFL, easily.

Though that’s like comparing “apples to oranges” since the XFL’s ‘apples’ are only worth millions of dollars and the NFL’s ‘oranges’ are worth billions.

During the XFL’s shortened 2020 season, that league reportedly earned $20 million while the NFL reported 2021 earnings of $17.19 billion for their full season of play.

It’s not really fair to compare those two revenue streams yet since the XFL is just starting out again and the NFL has been generating revenue since 1920.

How Does Each League Distribute Its Revenue?

The NFL first splits up its revenue sources into local and national categories.

Then the league negotiates national merchandise, licensing, and television contracts, which make up most of that national revenue.

Regardless of how well the 32 teams do during the season, each receives an equal share of that money, and after the 2021 season teams reportedly earned a record $309 million each.

The XFL’s new ownership group is made up of wrestler turned actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, IFBB professional bodybuilder Dany Garcia, and Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital.

If there is revenue made in 2023, it will go to them. 

Which Is More Profitable, the XFL Post-Season or NFL Post-Season?

The NFL’s.

That league’s postseason creates millions of dollars in profit however due to the league’s economic model that money is split equally among all 32 teams.

The XFL in 2023 has not had a postseason yet but it will begin after all ten games of the regular season are played. The XFL semifinals are scheduled to take place on April 29 and 30 and the league championship will happen on Saturday, May 13.

Which Teams Are Worth More, XFL or NFL?

In 2022, the average worth of an NFL franchise was $4.47 billion, which reportedly represents an increase of 28% year-over-year.

The Dallas Cowboys are the most valuable NFL franchise and are worth $8 billion.

The Cincinnati Bengals are the least valuable NFL franchise currently worth $3 billion.

In 2020, the ownership group led by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson reportedly purchased the XFL for $15 million (plus over $9.2 million in debts and payments) – and that was just hours before an auction could happen.

Which League Is More Internationally Driven, the XFL or the NFL?

The NFL wants to spread its popularity worldwide and in 2022 they did that by creating a 5-game international schedule that included matchups in Germany, the U.K., and Mexico.

That NFL international series has been in place since the 2007 season and that along with key television deals have led to the NFL currently having about 390 million to 410 million fans worldwide.

The XFL may be relatively new, but it promises to bring a “global professional football league with innovative rules and an enhanced 360-game experience” to fans across the globe.

Expect those efforts to be met with open international arms as the world continues to fall more and more in love with the game of football.

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What is the XFL?

What does XFL stand for?

Who Owns the XFL?

Can the XFL Compete With the NFL?

Do you Think the XFL Will Ever Surpass the NFL?

Will the XFL be More Exciting to Watch Than the NFL? If so, why?

Is the XFL More Dangerous than the NFL?

Will Betting on the XFL be Different?

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XFL Betting Sites vs NFL Betting Sites

Many legal sportsbooks are listing both NFL and XFL odds and wagers so be sure to check around for the best ones to suit your needs.

Here are a few that we recommend:

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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