Driven by its most-watched and highest-rated conference semifinal game ever, Versus continues to skate strongly with Nielsen families during the National Hockey League's playoffs.
Versus notched a 1.2 rating and almost 1.21 million viewers on May 4 with its coverage of the second game of the Eastern Conference semifinal series between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
The game in which two of the sports' biggest stars, Washington's Alexander Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, both scored hat tricks in the Caps's 4-3 triumph, was the NHL's most-watched and highest-rated second-round game since the San Jose-Colorado on May 15, 2002 drew 1.4 million viewers for ESPN.
Over the first eight conference semifinals games played through Tuesday May 5, Versus, coming off its best regular-season ratings with the NHL, scored a 10% increase to 700,860 viewers on average from 636,777 at the same stage of the 2008 playoffs, according to Nielsen. The Comcast-owned service also netted a 10% increase among men 18 to 49 and a 19% among guys 25 to 54 with its second-round coverage, said network officials.
Through 32 total postseason games, including complete opening-round action, through May 4, Versus recorded a 25% increase in household ratings, an 18% surge in viewership, a 16% advance among men 18 to 49 and 27% growth with men 25 to 54,according to network executives.