Versus Scores Cable's Biggest NHL Second-Round Playoff Audience

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Versus netted the most-watched second round of the National Hockey League playoffs in cable history.

Comcast's national sports service averaged a 1.0 household rating and 1.04 million viewers for its coverage of the 2010 conference semifinals, according to Nielsen data. That's the puck sport's best performance on cable dating back to 1994, which marked the first postseason with available Nielsen electronic ratings and viewership history for the NHL on cable.

The ratings and viewership averages represented gains of 25% and 28%, respectively, over the 209 conference semifinals, which averaged a 0.8 and 816,000 watchers.  Throughout the duration of the 2010 semifinals, Versus also ranked as a top 10 cable network in primetime among adults 18 to 49 and 25-54 and was one of the top five most-watched cable networks among men 18 to 49 and 25 to 54, according to network officials.

During 54 games during the first two rounds of 2010 playoffs, Versus averaged 775,000 viewers making it the most-watched first two rounds on cable since NHL playoff viewership became available by Nielsen in the 1993/94 season.

In the conference quarterfinal round the network's coverage was non-exclusive and blacked out in local team markets, while in the conference semifinals it aired 10 games exclusively while the rest were blacked out locally.

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