Blackhawks Do Big Ratings on VERSUS, Rocky Wirtz Continues to Be Unsatisfied

From Jim O’Donnell of the Chicago Sun-Times:

From there to Tuesday’s 5-1 clincher, the warriors of Wirtz were golden for both webs. Versus jumped to an 8.8 (10.1 peak) in Game 4, and CSN closed with a 9.4 in Game 5 and a 9.9 in Game 6.

The jump-up on Versus in Chicago could be significant for the direction of the NHL on cable.

The league’s contract with the ”V” — formerly the Outdoor Life Network — expires after next season.

Wirtz has made it known he would prefer an effort by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and staff to get the league on more-marqueed cable.

That could be overcrowded ESPN, or perhaps even Turner, which recently partnered with CBS Sports to assist with the massive TV fees for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

3 Responses to Blackhawks Do Big Ratings on VERSUS, Rocky Wirtz Continues to Be Unsatisfied

  1. Gumper says:

    I wish that Versus could partner with someone and expand. I like the idea of keeping it with them compared to give it away to ESPN. Although I have been critical of the announcing I think its a slap in the face for VErsus since they were there when the ratings were less.

    We need more parity than always giving something to the big guys like ESPN. As I recall, years ago CBS did partner with HNIC (circa 1970s) to provide content but showcased it as CBS content. My wish is Versus would partner with CBC (of course it will never happen but its a fun idea to consider.) Also does Versus show American games in Canada? That would be a good way to expand their reach. Why are things so country centric.

    On the other hand, I am not all happy with how NBC decides to pick afternoon games to broadcast. I’d argue to Wirtz that is just as bad. Such games should be shown in the evening when more people are at home.

  2. JoeyJoeJoeJunior Shabadoo says:

    That’s really funny coming from Rocky Wirtz. How about trying to get the Blackhawks on WGN America before complaining about Versus? If you can’t do that then how about a nice cup of shut the hell up?

  3. DyHrdMET says:

    I just can’t see the NHL getting a top billing, like it does on Versus, on ESPN’s or Turner’s networks. There is room for another marquee sports channel. Versus really should go after another property to make itself bigger. ESPN would have trouble fitting the NHL in during its regular season, and both ESPN and TNT would have trouble during the playoffs. I wouldn’t expect to see or think that TBS is a better option than TNT since they have their comedies and their only sports is a tradition with baseball going back to the Braves. Going to ESPN most nights would mean watching on ESPN2 (which right away is not top billing), and maybe even worse, having nights in which 2 simultaneous NBA games trumps the NHL and/or having to guess between ESPN and ESPN2 just to find the game.

    Interesting that Rocky Wirtz says this since his Blackhawks are part owners in Versus’ regional sister-station CSN Chicago.

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