Sorry We’re Late on This: VERSUS Scores Highest Rated and Most-Watched Telecast Ever. Ever.

NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 3, 2009)-VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), garnered a 2.6 national HH rating and averaged 2,955,348 viewers for its Game 3 telecast of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, June 2, with the Pittsburgh Penguin’s 4-2 defeat over the Detroit Red Wings at Mellon Arena.  The game, which peaked at a 3.5 HH rating between 10:15 and 10:30 p.m., was the highest-rated and most-watched Stanley Cup Final game on cable since 2002.  VERSUS, for the 8:00-10:45 p.m. time period, was the most-viewed cable network in the country and the top-rated network overall (broadcast and cable) among all key male demos.                      

The 2.6 national HH rating is the best rating ever in the history of the network, beating both Lance Armstrong’s final ride (7/24/05) and Game 5 between Detroit/Chicago in the Conference Finals (5/27/09) which both earned a 2.1 HH rating.  Among average viewers, the Game 3 telecast topped the network’s previous high set during Game 2 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final (2,608,371).  VERSUS’ Game 3 telecast showed a 37-percent increase in HH rating (2.6 vs 1.9) and 19-percent growth (2,955,348 vs 2,479,977) in average viewership over the average of Games 1 and 2 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final between the Red Wings and Penguins.               

Locally, VERSUS garnered a 15.1 HH rating in Detroit and a 26.1 HH rating in Pittsburgh, making VERSUS the top-rated network (broadcast and cable) for the time period in both markets.  VERSUS was also a top 5 cable network for the time period in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, DC and Philadelphia, among others.                 

VERSUS entered the 2009 Stanley Cup Final with tremendous momentum based on ratings and viewership gains in the regular season and through each round of the playoffs.  The network’s coverage of the 2009 Conference Final round was the highest-rated third round on cable since 1998 with HH ratings up 25 percent and average viewership up 30 percent from 2008.  The third-round growth came 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. 

4 Responses to Sorry We’re Late on This: VERSUS Scores Highest Rated and Most-Watched Telecast Ever. Ever.

  1. dyhrdmet says:

    oh shoot. was there a game last night? I saw games on Saturday and Sunday, so I checked Monday – no game, so I just stopped checking.

  2. Praveen says:

    I see Bettman giving Versus all the credit. The reason for the ratings is not the network but the marquee matchup and collection of stars not seen in a Cup final for a while. ALl I know I was glad NBC had the first two games becuase I was in a hotel in Dallas for a reception and none of the TVs had acccess to Versus. I would have been forced to give up on the reception to go to a bar to watch the game.

    My friend is going on a business trip next week and he is thrilled Versus doesnt have the final 3 games because he will be staying at Hampton Inn which doesnt have Versus either.

    • Kevin says:

      “The reason for the ratings is not the network but the marquee matchup and collection of stars not seen in a Cup final for a while.”

      Pretty sure every star player but Guerin was involved last year. But I do think that having two of the more prominent teams is making a huge impact on the ratings after two years of small Canadian market team vs. small Southern market team.

      • Praveen says:

        This year’s ratings are similar to last year’s. My comparison was more to the years prior to the lockout. I was just sick of Bettman doing these interviews trumpeting higher ratings and then implying it was all because of his masterstroke of this contract he entered with Versus. Bettman had nothing to do with stars like Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Detroit’s many all stars become superstars around the same time. Bettman took over in the 90s. So he has to answer why ratings haven’t really increased since then. Bettman cant be selective when trumpeting his achievements.

        I mean this did not outrate the 2002 finals(as implied by the article) which was during a lackluster part of the NHL era. The lockout ruined things and the increase is just a natural uptick of fans returning to the game, the return being made easier by marquee matchups like Wash-Pitt and Ana-Det in these playoffs, not to mention Wirtz Sr’s death helping add Chicago viewers to the world of the NHL.

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