Monday, January 29, 2007

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.

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.
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.

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.

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11 Comments:

At 2:43 PM, January 29, 2007, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

Damnit! I hate, HATE Versus. Emerick is terrible and while the camera angles and lighting have imporved the announcers are terrible and still no NHL2Night type show. Can't wait for the US cable networks to negotiate for the NHL Network so I don't have to deal with VS anymore (thank God for Center Ice!).

 
At 3:08 PM, January 29, 2007, Anonymous Rob V. said...

Well, that's just horrific news.

 
At 4:01 PM, January 29, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the Comcast owned Flyers are on the Comcast owned Versus network again? I wonder why Ed Schneider the Comcastic owner of a large market team supported the Gary Bettman plan to lockout the League for a salary cap? Can't wait to hear the Counts positive spin on these numbers.

 
At 4:35 PM, January 29, 2007, Anonymous ken said...

I don't know if this is hilarious or awful. I guess it's awful that the NHL has fallen so far, but hilarious that the Bettmann keeps serving the same Kool-Aid and no one thinks to stop drinking it.

 
At 8:23 PM, January 29, 2007, Anonymous vadim sharifijanov said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:19 PM, January 29, 2007, Blogger Mike Chen said...

Let's just hope that the rumors of ESPN trying to broadcast a weekly game in conjunction with the VS broadcasts are true. Dear lord, let's hope it's true.

 
At 11:08 PM, January 29, 2007, Anonymous vadim sharifijanov said...

jimmy deleted my posting of the body of this article:

http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slug=dw-bettman012907&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

it's an interesting take, arguing that, the way the league's been run since bettman took over, he might as well have been sent by nba commish david stern to sabotage the nhl (remember, bettman took over during the nhl's greatest commercial success, a time when the nba's popularity was lagging a bit due to stifling defence).

 
At 8:47 AM, January 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've enjoyed the Versus broadcasts this year. I don't see why everyone is whining.

 
At 1:54 PM, January 30, 2007, Blogger PB said...

I've only watched one on Versus (make that two if you count the All-Star game).

What made the All-Star game avoid a trainwreck for me was Turco. How he put up with Edzo's questions is truly beyond me.

I keep getting the NHL surveys about the television coverage in the NHL and I keep writing the same thing.

Now, they get an extension. Versus/OLN is a tough channel for people to view so no one knows when the next games are. At least with ESPN, if you saw the football playoff game, you knew about the game(s) of the week for the NHL.

NHL Network would help the coverage here in the U.S. - no doubt about it.

 
At 8:00 PM, January 30, 2007, Blogger Jeremy said...

That can't be a good thing. I was on the road for work in California last week and had hoped to watch at least part of the All-Star Game, but neither of the hotels I stayed at on the trip carried Versus. Sounds like I didn't miss much...but still.

 
At 11:18 PM, March 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NHL2Night was a great show and ESPN broadcasters and analysts such as Barry Melrose and Gary Thorne were so much better to listen to than those on Versus

 

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