It was another dismal weekend for the XFL - fueling speculation that the troubled start-up football league may soon be looking at its final play.
Saturday night's ratings for the XFL dropped 26 percent to a 2.8 according to Metered Markets.
The fourth game of the series marks its steepest decline yet - 73 percent off its debut game. Four weeks ago, the XFL got a respectable 10.5 percent of TV households. It then dropped to a 4.6, than a 3.8 and finally a 2.8.
NBC remained mum on the plummeting viewership.
A spokesman for NBC Sports said, "The XFL is a work in progress."
"It's week four of a 12-week season," said NBC spokesman Kevin Sullivan. "Our committment is for two years."
But the XFL backlash has some inside NBC - mostly NBC affiliates - crying, "Time out!"
"They have to decide - is it a sport or is it a show?" said Alan Frank, president of Post-Newsweek stations, which includes the NBC affiliates in Detroit and Houston.
"I hope it's not in primetime in the sweeps," he added.
The XFL acknowledged last week that it is giving advertisers make-goods - extra ads in the games for no additional charge - to compensate for its sagging ratings. While the move may please advertisers - the costs to the XFL's parent, Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation, and to partner NBC will be significant.
The XFL's star announcer, Gov. Jesse Ventura, however, had a different take on the money-losing football league.
He blamed the media for the XFL's poor ratings.
"Give yourself a hand," he told Washington's National Press Club yesterday. "A lot of the media dislikes Vince McMahon with a passion."
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