Versus Enjoys Hockey Bounce

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Philadelphia — The U.S.
Olympic men’s hockey team’s
silver-medal performance in
the recent Vancouver Winter
Olympics has juiced ratings
for Versus’ National Hockey
League contests.

In two NHL telecasts after the
USA lost to Canada in the Olympics
hockey fi nals Feb. 28, Versus
has averaged more than 325,000
viewers. That’s up from an average
of 283,000 viewers for the 40
games prior to the NHL’s twoweek
break last month for the
Winter Olympics competition.

The Comcast-owned national
service scheduled seven games
during the week to take advantage
of the momentum coming
out of the games, Versus president
Jamie Davis said.

Network officials also said
visitors to the Versus.com Web
site spent 25% more time on its
NHL-related pages in the week
after the Winter Games than in
previous weeks.

“We’re real excited about how
hockey did in the Olympics and
as a result of that, we’ve been
able to carry that momentum
out of the Olympics into hockey
this week,” Davis said.

Along with having high
hopes for the NHL, the network
is also bullish on its
original-programming offerings,
including a new daily
sports/talk show — The Daily
Line
— debuting April 5. The
show will offer viewers a preview
of the upcoming night in
sports, as well as allow sports
fans to discuss on-air the latest
sports news by calling in,
texting, e-mailing or tweeting.

The Daily Line will join weekly
sports-commentary series
Sports Soup and reality show
Sports Jobs With Junior Seau in
Versus’ growing original-programming
play.

“Original programming is really
our top priority right now
to help define our brand and
differentiate ourselves from the
pack,” Davis said. “To be able
to launch, starting in April, our
own daily show is really exciting.
We hope it will become a
flagship of the network and really
define the brand.”

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