VERSUS Celebrates Highest-Rated Conf. Semis Since 1997, Promotes Conf. Final Coverage

Also, yay for more Razor!

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 15, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will continue its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs with exclusive coverage of the Conference Final round beginning Monday, May 18.  The network begins its night of third-round action at 7:00 p.m. ET with Hockey Central followed by Game 1 in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Carolina Hurricanes series at 7:30 p.m. ET.  All of VERSUS’ NHL games are produced and presented in HD where available.  

 

The network’s coverage of the 2009 Conference Semifinals was the highest-rated second round on cable since 1997.  VERSUS, which aired eight exclusive games and 16 non-exclusive games, posted significant increases in HH ratings (up 33%), total viewership (up 32%) and viewership across all key male demos, Men 18-34 (up 23%), Men 18-49 (up 33%) and Men 25-54 (up 42%) as compared to year-ago figures from the second postseason round.  This second round growth follows a 21-percent increase in viewership during the regular season and 22-percent viewership growth in the Conference Quarterfinals.  

 

VERSUS’ exclusive telecast of Game 3 in the Pittsburgh Penguins/Washington Capitals Conference Semifinal round series on May 6 garnered a 1.3 National HH Rating and averaged 1,488,952 total viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched Semifinals telecast on cable since 2002.  VERSUS’ non-exclusive coverage of Game 7 in the same series made the network the highest-rated cable network in the country among Men 18-34 and Men 18-49.  

 

“The 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs just get better and better with each round.  Three series that went the full seven games, sudden-death overtimes and the historic Crosby/Ovechkin showdown led to VERSUS earning record-breaking ratings and viewership in the second round,” said Jamie Davis, President of VERSUS.  “With the highest-rated Conference Semifinal round on cable in 12 years, we’ve proven that sports fans across the country know VERSUS is, without question, the television destination for the most complete coverage of NHL action.”  

 

VERSUS’ coverage of the Conference Final round is exclusive and not subject to any local blackouts.  Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Bob Harwood will serve as the in-arena announce team for the Western Conference Final games and Joe Beninati, Daryl Reaugh and Christine Simpson will call all the action for the Eastern Conference Final games.  The network’s 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will culminate with games three and four of the Stanley Cup Final.  This is a change from the past three seasons as VERSUS previously aired games one and two of the Final.  NBC will broadcast games one and two of the Final as well as games five, six and seven, if necessary. 

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About stevelepore
Steve Lepore is the Managing Editor of Puck the Media. His work has been featured in The Hockey News. Feel free to contact him at stevemlepore@gmail.com

13 Responses to VERSUS Celebrates Highest-Rated Conf. Semis Since 1997, Promotes Conf. Final Coverage

  1. jkrdevil says:

    Highest since ’97. Guess the NHL really needs Espn, look at the ratings higher than what ESPN ever did the last 7 years of those contracts.

  2. Chris says:

    Benihana’s calling the Eastern Conference Final?

    Thankfully, we in Pittsburgh have Mike Lange.

  3. Leafsfan1967 says:

    >>Benihana’s calling the Eastern Conference Final?

    Nothing but the worst for Versus!!!

    Pow Bam Melt it Down, Dish the Biscuit… umhh which mindless non hockey cliche have I forgotten?

  4. Chris says:

    Let’s not forget his goal calls which are identical regardless of their importance. Whether it’s the eighth goal in an 8-0 rout or a tie breaking goal in the final seconds of the game, it’s always “HE SCOREEEEEEEESSS! NAME-OF-PLAY-ER-HERE!” emphasizing each syllable.

    Examples: “HE SCORREEESSS! PAV-EL DAT-SUYK!” or “HE SCORREEEESSS!!! HEN-RIK ZET-TER-BERG!!!”

    Ugh. Come on Versus, I’m sure John Forslund or Dave Strader will work for just as cheap as Beninati, and they’re both about 12 times better.

    • nosferatu says:

      I have no idea how, with Strader already on their payroll, they could use Beninati over him.

      I actually have few complaints with the broadcasting teams they’ve used in these playoffs, except this decision. Beninati is good enough to be on the fringe as like the 4th or 5th broadcast team in the first round, and that’s it. Strader’s got the chops to be the No. 1 guy when Doc hangs them up, but I guess this shows how clueless Versus actually is when it comes to hockey.

      They probably get Beninati for some reduced rate since he doubles as the Comcast (Versus’s parent company!) Sports Net Washington announcer. As we’ve learned, Versus is nothing if not cheap.

  5. Leafsfan1967 says:

    >>Ugh. Come on Versus, I’m sure John Forslund or Dave Strader will work for just as cheap as Beninati, and they’re both about 12 times better.

    Well said. There’s also John Kelly, Ken Daniels etc etc etc who would actually make the games enjoyable rather than painful to watch….
    :-(

    • BluesFan44 says:

      .>> Well said. There’s also John Kelly, Ken Daniels etc etc etc who would actually make the games enjoyable rather than painful to watch….

      There aren’t many announcers I’d rather listen to Benihana than…………….. but John Kelly is one of ‘em. I think he got his broadcasting ability from his mother…….

  6. Leafsfan1967 says:

    John Kelly comes from a very distinguished broadcasting family. There are moments when he really sounds like his late father Dan who was one of the very best. If I had to list my top 4 all time broadcasters it would be

    Foster Hewitt

    Danny Gallivan

    Bill Hewitt

    Dan Kelly

  7. stevelepore says:

    @Leafsfan1967: Yeah, but dude, John Kelly sucks.

  8. John says:

    Regarding Dave Strader, in the past I believe he has called one of the conference finals series for Westwood One Radio (he did the Western Conference Finals last year).

    Certainly agree that there are countless PBP voices in the league (and already working for Versus!) better than Beninati at the moment.

  9. Mackpt says:

    Doc & Edzo as the “A” team and Strades & Razor as the “B” team (make that B+++) would be my perfect third round pairings. Well three out of four is better than I expected. (Way to go Razor!!)

  10. Wayne from AL says:

    All well and dandy, but Versus is STILL getting only 1/4 to 1/3 of what the NBA is getting on TNT or The Worldwide Leader…

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