VERSUS Coverage Plans

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 13, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, will drop the puck on its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, April 14.  The network will start the night at 6:30 p.m. ET with the first Playoffs edition of Hockey Central followed by the first game in the Ottawa Senators/Pittsburgh Penguins series at 7:00 p.m. ET.  VERSUS will air another Hockey Central show at 9:30 p.m. ET followed by Game 1 in the Detroit Red Wings/Phoenix Coyotes series at 10 p.m. ET.  VERSUS concludes its first night of coverage by joining Game 1 of the Colorado Avalanche/San Jose Sharks series in-progress following the conclusion of the Red Wings/Coyotes telecast.

VERSUS is entering the postseason with tremendous momentum.  The network kicked off the 2009/10 season with the most-watched opening night in network history and the March 22 Detroit Red Wings/Pittsburgh Penguins game was the highest-rated and most-watched regular season game in network history, as well as the most-watched NHL regular season telecast on cable since 2004.  The network also saw a 33-percent spike in HH ratings (.4) and a 23-percent increase in average viewership (347,000) for the 12 exclusive games following the Olympic break as compared to the pre-Olympic, 40-game average (.3 HH rating and 283,000 viewers).  The .4 HH rating and 347,000 average viewership for the final six weeks of exclusive games was also up 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively, compared to the final six weeks of the 2008-09 regular season (.3 HH rating and 288,000 viewers).

Throughout most of the postseason, VERSUS will televise at least one game per night, however most nights during the first two rounds will feature a double or triple-header.  In the Conference Quarterfinals, VERSUS’ coverage is non-exclusive and subject to local blackouts.  In the Conference Semifinal round, VERSUS will air two exclusive games per series and during the Conference Finals the network will air exclusive coverage of both series.  VERSUS’ 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will culminate with exclusive coverage of Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

VERSUS always seeks to institute new production enhancements to provide an even better viewing experience for fans and for this year’s Playoffs will use Liberovision technology in each postseason game.  This cutting-edge analysis tool creates unique perspectives and the ability to rotate the image 360 degrees to get a better view of how the play developed.  To further enhance the viewer experience, the network will also debut new theme music and a new graphics look for the Playoffs.

Each night the network televises a game VERSUS will air its NHL studio show, Hockey Central.  Hosted by Bill Patrick with Brian Engblom and Keith Jones, Hockey Central provides extensive insight and commentary of the games and what’s happening around the NHL during the Playoffs.  Throughout the Playoffs, Hockey Central will continue to feature guest analysts who made appearances during the regular season, including Darren McCarty, John Stevens and Mike Keenan with additional guests to be announced throughout the Playoffs.

VERSUS.com is the online destination for NHL fans to find extensive information about the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Fans will have access to editorial coverage from some of the most knowledgeable hockey sources; exclusive videos and interviews as well as daily highlights from all of VERSUS’ games; polls and quizzes; an interactive community section where fans can post videos and photos and join or start message boards; AccuScore game projections; and live gamecasts and scoreboards for every game.  The network also recently launched a hockey application on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry Storm enabling viewers to access up-to-date statistical information, expert editorial analysis and videos on the go for the Playoffs.

VERSUS’ Quarterfinal round schedule follows (All times ET, subject to change):

DATE                                       TIME                            GAMES                                                            CONFERENCE

Wednesday, April 14              7 p.m.                          Ottawa at Pittsburgh, Game 1                       Eastern

10 p.m.                        Detroit at Phoenix, Game 1**                        Western

12:30 a.m. (JIP)         Colorado at San Jose, Game  1                        Western

Thursday, April 15                  7 p.m.                          Montreal at Washington, Game 1                  Eastern

10 p.m.                        Los Angeles at Vancouver, Game 1               Western

Friday, April 16                       7 p.m.                          Ottawa at Pittsburgh, Game 2                       Eastern

9:30 p.m. (JIP)           Nashville at Chicago, Game 1                          Western

11 p.m. (JIP)               Detroit at Phoenix, Game 2                            Western

12:30 a.m. (JIP)         Colorado at San Jose, Game 2                        Western

Saturday, April 17                   7 p.m.                          Montreal at Washington, Game 2                  Eastern

10 p.m.                        Los Angeles at Vancouver, Game 2               Western

Sunday, April 18                     6:30 p.m.                     Pittsburgh at Ottawa, Game 3                       Eastern

9 p.m. (JIP)                Nashville at Chicago, Game 2                          Western

11 p.m. (JIP)               San Jose at Colorado, Game 3                       Western

Monday, April 19                    7 p.m.                          Buffalo at Boston, Game 3                              Eastern

10 p.m.                        Vancouver at Los Angeles, Game 3               Western

Tuesday, April 20                    7 p.m.                          Pittsburgh at Ottawa, Game 4                       Eastern

9:30 p.m. (JIP)           Chicago at Nashville, Game 3                          Western

11:30 p.m. (JIP)         San Jose at Colorado, Game 4                        Western

Wednesday, April 21              7 p.m.                          Buffalo at Boston, Game 4                             Eastern

10 p.m.                        Vancouver at Los Angeles, Game 4               Western

Thursday, April 22                  7 p.m.                          Ottawa at Pittsburgh, Game 5*                     Eastern

9:30 p.m. (JIP)           Chicago at Nashville, Game 4                          Western

11 p.m. (JIP)               Colorado at San Jose, Game 5*                     Western

Friday, April 23                       7 p.m.                          Montreal at Washington, Game 5*                Eastern

10 p.m.                        Detroit at Phoenix, Game 5*                         Western

Saturday, April 24                   7 p.m.                          Pittsburgh at Ottawa, Game 6*                    Eastern

TBD                             San Jose at Colorado, Game 6*                     Western

Sunday, April 25                     7 p.m.                          TBD, Game 6*                                                 TBD

TBD                             Vancouver at Los Angeles, Game 6*             Western

Monday, April 26                    7 p.m.                          Washington at Montreal, Game 6*                Eastern

TBD                             Chicago at Nashville, Game 6*                       Western

TBD                             Colorado at San Jose, Game 7*                     Western

Tuesday, April 27                    7 p.m.                          TBD                                                                 TBD

10 p.m.                        TBD                                                                 TBD

Wednesday, April 28              7 p.m.                          TBD                                                                 TBD

10 p.m.                        TBD                                                                 TBD

*Games subject to change as best-of-seven series may be over

**VERSUS’ Game 1 coverage of the Detroit/Phoenix series will be exclusive in Phoenix

(JIP) – joined in progress

VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms (VERSUS.com, VERSUS on Demand and VERSUS HD).  Now in more than 75 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR).  VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football and college basketball programming.  The network is home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including The Daily Line, Sports Soup and Sports Jobs with Junior Seau.  VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.

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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

6 Responses to VERSUS Coverage Plans

  1. Mike in Idaho says:

    I hope the ratings are down so maybe Versus gets the idea not everyone wants to see baby Crosby. I can’t believe they are showing a series with a Canadian team when they are going to be blacked out in Pittsburgh most of the time.

  2. E says:

    anyone know who the top 2 announcing teams will be in the first round for Versus?

  3. kevin says:

    I think Versus’ first round plan is to saturate the market with hockey. If your local team is playing you won’t be watching Versus but when your team is off or finished for the night you will check out the late/early game on Versus so they will get you at some point. Much better than dealing with ESPN2 which would show one game per night if you were lucky……

  4. Robert says:

    It seems crazy to join games in progress when a full doubleheader can happen. Wednesday night is scheduled properly with a doubleheader and then the conclusion of the Sharks game. On Friday, the entire Detroit-Phoenix game should be shown instead of the Nashville-Chicago game JIP.

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