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ESPN began October in 99.96 million U.S. households, tops among sports networks and up 0.9% from the same period last year. Versus starts October -- and the '10-11 NHL season -- in 74.7 million U.S. homes. The net last October was still involved in a carriage dispute with DirecTV, with 17.9% less households than their current penetration. That dispute lasted until the final six weeks of the NHL season, during which Versus saw game viewership increase 20% from the final six weeks of the '08-09 season. NFL Network and Fox Soccer Channel are also seeing a double-digit percentage hike from the same period last year. Listed below is U.S. household penetration for October '10, with comparisons to the same period in previous years. Also see how select cable sports nets performed in total-day and primetime viewership from the third quarter of this year (THE DAILY).U.S. HOUSEHOLD PENETRATION FOR OCTOBER
AMONG SELECT CABLE SPORTS NETWORKSNETWORK'10 (000)'09 (000)'08 (000)'07 (000)'06 (000)ESPN99,96099,08897,74296,56692,235ESPN299,93198,82497,34896,24391,686Golf Channel83,36881,63182,00076,79869,363Speed77,09174,18473,29372,91668,161Versus74,70763,37973,54674,02070,684
ESPNews74,24869,84167,37562,15251,712 ESPNU73,689n/an/an/an/a NFL Network57,29950,33441,91643,942n/a MLB Network55,819n/an/an/an/a ESPN Classic40,84863,87163,19463,18762,132 Fox Soccer Channel38,44934,76734,317n/an/a
NOTE: Distribution not listed for networks which do not subscribe to daily Nielsen ratings, including NBA TV, NHL Network, Universal Sports, CBS College Sports, Tennis Channel, Big Ten Network, Fox College Sports or any spanish-language cable sports networks.