VERSUS Hypes Game 3 & 4 Coverage

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 29, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will air exclusive coverage of Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, June 2, and Thursday, June 4, when the Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins host the Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings in the highly anticipated re-match of last year’s Final.  VERSUS’ coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET both nights with special presentations of the network’s studio show “Hockey Central,” live from Mellon Arena.  Both Stanley Cup Final games will be produced and shown in HD where available.  

The network’s coverage of the 2009 Conference Final round averaged a 1.5 HH rating, making it the highest-rated third round on cable since 1998.  VERSUS, which aired seven exclusive games in the series, posted significant increases in HH ratings (up 25%, 1.5 vs. 1.2), average viewership (up 30%, 1,724,641 vs. 1,321,868) and viewership among key male demos, Men 18-49 (up 19%) and Men 25-54 (up 39%) as compared to last year’s Conference Finals.  The third-round growth comes on the heels of VERSUS airing the highest-rated Conference Semifinals on cable since 1997 and seeing 32-percent viewership growth in that round, 22-percent viewership growth in the Conference Quarterfinals and a 21-percent increase in viewership during the regular season.  

VERSUS’ coverage of Game 5 between Detroit/Chicago in the Conference Finals on May 27 garnered a 2.1 HH rating and averaged 2,323,921 total viewers.  The game was the most-watched telecast in network history among households (1,551,534) and beat VERSUS’ Game 1 and 2 telecasts of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, which averaged a 1.9 HH rating and 1,377,555 households.   

“The 2008-09 NHL regular season and playoffs on VERSUS have been absolutely amazing.  From opening night in October, which at the time was our best regular season game ever, to airing both the highest-rated second and third round playoff series on cable in more than a decade, viewers around the country have tuned into VERSUS in record numbers all season long,” said Jamie Davis, President of VERSUS.  “With the Red Wings and Penguins set to battle in the first Stanley Cup Final re-match in 25 years, we are positioned to continue this tremendous ratings momentum.”

Mike “Doc” Emrick, one of the most distinctive voices in hockey, will serve as the play-by-play announcer for the Stanley Cup Final games and will be joined in the booth by analyst Eddie Olczyk, former NHL player and one-time coach of the Penguins.  Bob Harwood and Christine Simpson will serve as on-site reporters and will have unprecedented access to coaches and players, allowing for exclusive interviews during the game.  VERSUS’ studio show, “Hockey Central”, hosted by Bill Patrick with Brian Engblom and Keith Jones, will be on-site at Mellon Arena to provide viewers with pre- and post-game coverage.  

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