Versus signs on long-term
Amid flat national ratings and sliding regional numbers, Comcast will remain in the rink with the National Hockey League into the next decade.Wow... I'd recently only heard of a one-year extension for Versus, which given the product they've produced so far would be perfectly alright.
Comcast’s Versus network will televise national NHL games through 2011 after exercising an option to air the 2007-08 season and picking up the rights to three additional campaigns.
But another four seasons?
The interesting thing is that the decision was entirely in Versus' hands, as the fledgling network (apparently) had the option to decide how long they wanted to be the NHL's broadcaster regardless of ratings and/or the number of subscribers.
It appears Gary Bettman's plans to expand the league's television footprint in the U.S. rests solely with Versus' ability to attract new subscribers, something that seems questionable at best. You have to wonder if this means four more years of minuscule ratings like those reported from last week's all-star game.