SBD/Issue 34/Sports Media

Versus Earns Highest-Rated NHL Telecast, Best Oct. Primetime Ever

Versus earned a 0.6 cable rating and 477,000 viewers for the Flyers-Capitals game on Tuesday night, marking the net's highest-rated NHL regular-season telecast ever. Maple Leafs-Red Wings on October 9, 2008 remains the net's most-viewed telecast with 577,000 viewers. Season-to-date, Versus' NHL telecasts are averaging a 0.4 cable rating and 342,000 viewers, up from a 0.3 rating and 297,000 viewers through the same point last season. Additionally, Versus earned 245,000 viewers in primetime during the month of October, the net's best October mark ever, and up 14.5% from 214,000 viewers in primetime during the same period a year ago (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). YAHOO SPORTS' Greg Wyshynski wrote of the Versus-DirecTV carriage dispute, "Versus getting ratings without DirecTV, and DirecTV being content to satisfy angry hockey fans with concessions like free services, are going to keep this thing at a stalemate for the foreseeable future" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/28).

CANADA REPORT: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported the CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" did "great business Saturday night," as the network earned 2.306 million viewers for early-window games including Maple Leafs-Canucks, Rangers-Canadiens and Bruins-Senators, and 1.119 million viewers for the late-window Oilers-Flames game (GLOBESPORTS.com, 10/28). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich wrote while we are "not even a month into the NHL season, hockey ratings are almost doubling the next highest" sports programs in Canada. Zelkovich: "Imagine what they'll be doing when the games start to actually mean something." The CBC's early-window "HNIC" telecast ranked as the most-viewed sports program in Canada for the weekend, followed by the CFL Lions-Roughriders game on TSN, which drew 1.202 million viewers. CTV's coverage of early-window NFL games ranked No. 4 with 899,000 viewers, behind Oilers-Flames (THESTAR.com, 10/28).

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