Versus put one in the back of the Nielsen net with its National Hockey League coverage of Game 4 of the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers.
The Comcast Corp.-owned network’s cablecast of the May 1 contest in which the Blue Shirts staved off elimination against Sidney Crosby’s Penguins averaged a 1.0 national rating, according to Nielsen Media Research data, making it the most-watched NHL telecast in Versus’ history. The exclusive telecast drew 1.18 million viewers, third best overall for the service, according to network officials.
The game vaulted Versus, the exclusive cable home of the NHL and its Stanley Cup playoffs, to the top spot nationally in cable during the 7 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. time period among men 18 to 34 (1.3 average) and men 18 to 49 (1.2).
Versus skated to a 2.1 household rating in the New York DMA, putting the service atop all of cable in the market during the aforementioned time period.; to date, the game is the highest-rated NHL on Versus telecast in the nation’s-largest market.
In the Pittsburgh DMA, the game averaged a 15.3 household rating, Versus’ best rating in the market ever with the NHL. Versus ranked first in all of TV, including broadcast, in the Pittsburgh DMA during the time slot.
Through the first 12 conference semifinal games over eight nights, Versus was up 50% in ratings to a 0.6 average from a 0.4 for 13 games over eight nights last season. Total viewership grew 52% to 619,775 on average vs. 406,580.
Demo growth was even more impressive: men 18 to 34 rose 78% to 151,604; men 18 to 49 surged 76% to 293, 302; and men 25 to 54 climbed 83% to 262,371.