February 9, 2011 Leave a comment
After the most successful ratings and viewership for an NHL All-Star Game on cable and the best performance for the Super-Skills event since 2003, The NHL On VERSUS has extended their ratings success into the exclusive telecasts of regular-season games once the All-Star break ended, including breaking some records for hockey coverage at the network.
The network’s coverage of Pittsburgh/NY Rangers (2/1/11) and NY Rangers/Detroit (2/7/11) set a new high mark for VERSUS, becoming the first two back-to-back exclusive telecasts to draw more than 450,000 viewers. The Penguins/Rangers game drew 460,000 viewers two days after the break, and Rangers/Red Wings scored even better 534,000 viewers. The New York/Detroit telecast marked the third-highest average viewers for a VERSUS telecast this season. This is also the first time two consecutive exclusive NHL telecasts on cable have drawn 450,000+ viewers since 2004, back in the ESPN/ESPN2 days.
The two games were a 148% rise among average viewers over the games on comparable dates last season (494,000 vs. 199,000 for MIN/DAL and NJ-PHI on 2/2/10 and 2/8/10, respectively), and an impressive 157% growth year-to-year among men 18-49, and 120% among men 25-54. Compared to the network’s first two exclusive telecasts after the 2009 All-Star Game (the last time the event was held), there was growth of 25% (494,000 viewers vs. 395,000 for Washington/Boston and Detroit/St. Louis on 1/27/09 and 2/2/09).
Overall, the two games showed marked improvement from VERSUS’ first-half NHL average. The two telecasts are a 64% growth in viewers (494,000 vs. 302,000 before the All-Star Game), an 80% increase among men 18-49, and an 86% increase among men 25-54. It appears that we’ve seen yet another benefit from the All-Star Game, in that it gets viewers prepared to tune into the NHL’s national cable partner going towards the end of the season.