VERSUS To Have Ad Presence In Every Olympic Telecast

Let’s be honest folks, DirecTV or no DirecTV, VERSUS is must-see television from April to June.  Now, it’s making itself must see in March, through added games and tons of pre-game stuff.  Case in point, here’s VERSUS’ new race to the playoffs commercial:

This is a fantastic commercial.  Be honest, you’ve done many of these things before.  The spot was directed by Brett Morgan, who directed a recent special on the Olympic skiing team.

Anyway, the other good news is that VERSUS will have a great presence with this ad during the XXI Olympiad:

From February 16 through February 23, VERSUS will have at least one 30 second spot (and in most cases two 30 second spots) in every Olympic hockey game. We saw this as a great way to reach hockey and casual sports fans in a concentrated way reminding them that VERSUS is the television destination for the most hockey action on TV from March through the playoffs.

VERSUS To Add Games, Weekly Pre-Game Shows to Post-Olympic Coverage

NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 15, 2010)-VERSUS, the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, will kick off the first week of March with additional NHL action Monday through Thursday night.  Five bonus games will be added to the week’s schedule that already included the Detroit Red Wings/Colorado Avalanche game on March 1 and the Philadelphia Flyers/Tampa Bay Lightning match-up on March 2.  Beginning on Tuesday, March 2, and continuing through the end of the regular season, VERSUS will also air HONDA Drive to the Playoffs; a 30-minute pre-game Hockey Central prior to each Tuesday night NHL telecast.  The network will also air full half-hour pre-game shows on March 1 and 3.

“We’ve reached a pivotal point in the NHL season; the trade deadline is set for March 3 and teams are not only jockeying for playoff positioning, but also fighting for their postseason lives,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS.  “This is a very exciting time of the year and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to super-serve NHL fans with bonus games and enhanced pre-game analysis.”

VERSUS’ first bonus game of the week, on March 2, will feature two of the top teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences with the San Jose Sharks hosting the New Jersey Devils at 10:30 p.m. ET.  The game will not air on VERSUS in the team markets due to local blackout restrictions.  On Wednesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. ET, VERSUS will televise the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres game; local blackouts apply so home team markets will join the Philadelphia Flyers/Florida Panthers game at 7:30 p.m. ET.

VERSUS’ week of bonus game coverage concludes on Thursday, March 4, when the New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m. ET.  The game will be blacked out in team markets and viewers in Pittsburgh and New York will have access to the Toronto Maple Leafs/Boston Bruins game.

The network’s regular season coverage continues on Monday, March 8, at 7 p.m. ET when the Dallas Stars visit the Washington Capitals and on Tuesday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET with the Philadelphia Flyers hosting the New York Islanders.

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).  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 has partnerships with top sports leagues such as NASCAR, NBA and UFC and airs collegiate sports featuring nationally-ranked teams from top conferences such as the Pac-10, Big 12 and Mountain West.  The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television and airs original programs not available anywhere else, including 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.

Your Hockey Highlights the Next Two Days For the Olympics on NBCUniversal

CABLE:
Women’s ice hockey is live on MSNBC. Coming off of a dominating 18-0 win over Slovakia, Team Canada faces off against Switzerland.

Monday, February 15 (DAY 4)
Cable
MSNBC
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey – Canada vs. Switzerland (LIVE)

3:00 a.m. – 5:30 a.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey – Sweden vs. Slovakia

MSNBC HIGHLIGHTS:
Women’s Ice Hockey: Canada vs. Switzerland – The potent Canadian women’s hockey team skates LIVE in its second game of the Olympic tournament against Switzerland.

Tuesday, February 16 (DAY 5)
Cable
USA
Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey – USA vs. Switzerland (LIVE)

CNBC
5:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey – Canada vs. Norway (LIVE)
Russia vs. Latvia (LIVE)
Women’s Ice Hockey – Finland vs. China (LIVE)

MSNBC
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Women’s Ice Hockey – USA vs. Russia (LIVE)

USA HIGHLIGHTS:
Men’s Ice Hockey: USA vs. Switzerland – The most anticipated international tournament in the sport – men’s hockey at a Canadian Olympics – begins. The USA roster is packed with rising young stars and top-notch goaltenders. Their competition starts LIVE against Switzerland.

CNBC HIGHLIGHTS:
Men’s Ice Hockey: Canada vs. Norway – One of the faces of the Games, hockey superstar Sidney Crosby, leads the Canadians in their drive for gold LIVE against Norway. “Sid the Kid” was controversially left off the 2006 Team Canada Olympic roster. Now, he’s arguably the tournament’s best player. No medal means more to the host country than gold in men’s ice hockey and the excitement level should be through the roof.

MSNBC HIGHLIGHTS:
Women’s Ice Hockey: USA vs. Russia – Coached by 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hero Mark Johnson, the USA women’s hockey team is favored to meet Canada in the Gold Medal Final and today clashes with Russia, LIVE, in their second game of the tournament.

Women’s Hockey Beats the NHL in Canada

From CTV’s Press Release:

The Canada vs. Slovakia (2.5 million) and Switzerland vs. Sweden (797,000) Group A games delivered more viewers than HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA (747,000)

Okay, Canada winning isn’t all that surprising, but a Sweden-Switzerland game doing better than HNIC?  Even if it was Philly-Montreal/Ottawa-Detroit, these Canadians are pretty intense about the Vancouver games.

Verbal Highlights From NBCU’s Hockey Coverage on Sunday

USA NETWORK:

WOMEN’S ICE HOCKEY: USA vs. CHINA
USA 12 vs. China 1
Bill Patrick (Host), Cammi Granato (Studio Analyst), Mike Emrick (Play-by-Play), AJ Mleczko (Analyst)

TEAM USA’S MEGHAN DUGGAN ON SHAKING HANDS WITH VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN:”That was awesome. We were just coming off and we see him standing there, cheering for us. It just reminds us that we are playing for our country here.”

GRANATO ON TEAM USA’S ENTHUSIASM:
“You’re looking at a team that has 15 players that are playing their first Olympic game, so you can imagine how exciting these girls are to just step on the ice and get going.”

GRANATO ON STAR USA PLAYER HILARY KNIGHT:
“The player you need to watch is the youngest member of the team, Hilary Knight. She is a big goal scorer. She loves to be involved in the offense, has a great release and one of the best shots I’ve ever seen in women’s hockey.”

MLECZKO ON TEAM CHINA AS THE UNDERDOG:
“You have to give them a lot of credit for being here, for battling, and for competing against some of the best players in the world.”

MLECZKO ON TEAM USA’S PERFORMANCE VS. CHINA:
“Team USA is incredibly fit and skating circles around them.”

TEAM USA’S ANGELA RUGGIERO ON THE ATMOSPHERE IN VANCOUVER:”Just pure excitement. We have a lot of players in their first Olympics, this is my fourth, but we are all super excited to be here and to represent our country.”

CNBC, Women’s Ice Hockey:
Finland 5 vs. Russia 1
Bill Patrick (Host), Cammi Granato (Studio Analyst), Kenny Albert (Play-by-Play), AJ Mleczko (Analyst)

Mleczko: “In this first round when Team Canada and Team USA are such favorites, trying to figure out who is going to make that cut at second is going to be a big factor.”

Granato: “Finland is quietly one of the powerhouses in this tournament.”