Viewers rate XFL

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The XFL might get more fans if it leaned more toward professional football instead of wrestling, according to consumers surveyed by America Online's Digital Marketing Services division and Performance Research, Newport, R.I.

Although 58% of the survey respondents said the XFL "lived up to its hype," more than half of 503 consumers polled on AOL Time Warner's AOL said they would rather see the XFL be more similar to the National Football League than. the World Wrestling Federation.

Overall, the survey seemed to indicate the XFL is attracting potential NFL crossover fans who would like to see more action on the field without losing the professionalism of traditional football, said Performance Research.

Respondents were enthusiastic about certain innovations: 58% said the on-field audio of players' comments added to their enjoyment, and 54% said the elimination of the "fair catch rule" was positive.

But where football looked more like wrestling, they were negative: 41% said the nicknames on the backs of players' jerseys vs. their real names detracted from their enjoyment of the game.

More than half (53%) said the XFL should be "more athletic" and 72% said it should be "less like the WWF." A majority (72%) agreed with the statement that the XFL was "showy" vs. the NFL; 62% said it most resembled a made-for-TV production.

Consumers were screened before participating in a survey to ensure they were at least 18 years old; they had heard of the XFL; and had watched or attended at least one of the series' games.

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