VERSUS Pres. Jamie Davis Continues Assertiveness, Claims “No desire” to Share with ESPN


VERSUS President Jamie Davis

VERSUS President Jamie Davis

As Neil Best points out in his Watchdog blog, before Jamie Davis got to VERSUS, prior chieftons at the network seemed to be pretty open to ESPN getting back into hockey.  You always heard quotables like “We’re open to hearing from them” or “We’ll wait for them to contact us first”.  You didn’t really believe that TV executives talked like that, but it was nice to hear the idea that VERSUS was open to it.

Well, in our second post about the new VERSUS regime – headed by new President Jamie Davis – it is clear that this new gang in town has completely changed the way VERSUS is thinking:

Before Davis’ arrival, Versus usually left the door open a crack to the notion of at least talking to ESPN about subcontracting its exclusive cable rights, but Davis said: “No desire to do so.”

Well then.  Mr. Davis has clearly established himself as the man who thinks he’s going to take VERSUS to new levels, and he clearly wants the NHL as it’s #1, centerpiece sport.  Remember when he fired back at Paul Kelly for suggesting the network needed to be on ESPN?  This guy has some cojones.  This is voice you can clearly hear the “Show Me Your V” thing come from.

Read more of the interview at the link I provided above, which suggests VERSUS has grown leaps and bounds as far as brand recognition and ratings.  Davis also spoke to the Boston Globe, where he talks about what’s coming up in the near future:

“Sports Soup,” the sports equivalent of E Entertainment’s “Talk Soup,” airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. Davis said Versus’s long-term plan is to launch 2-3 more original shows this year and add shows in 2010.

He promises that none will be people sitting at a desk discussing statistics and showing highlights.

Another goal is to build up the network’s digital media. When Davis arrived, he said the digital media consisted of the website, which was primarily a marketing tool.

“It had our TV listings and information on our shows, but really, it was not that compelling of content, so we brought in Neal Scarbrough [former editor] to revamp our entire digital media strategy, which will be relaunching again in 2009,” said Davis. “It’s not going to be just highlights, stats, and data. What we’re about is trying to find sports that have a passionate sports base and find a way to super-serve them.”

C’mon Jamie, just one highlights show, and just on hockey?  If you can waste money on some “Sports Soup” clones, can’t we have NHL 2Nite back?  We really like what you’re doing at the network, I just think you have to look again at your current slate of NHL programming, and ask yourself “Are we really super-serving the hockey fan?”  I think you’d be hard-pressed to come up with a yes in response.

One Response to VERSUS Pres. Jamie Davis Continues Assertiveness, Claims “No desire” to Share with ESPN

  1. dyhrdmet says:

    Do you really want to see the NHL burried on ESPN or ESPN2? You can’t watch anything on ESPN’s networks these days without feeling like you’re being bombarded by other things you may want to watch or information you don’t care about. The NHL deserves better than that. Make a deal with ESPN to bring back nhl2night on nights that Versus and NHL Network aren’t showing games, but that’s it.

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