October 08, 2010
From Sports Media Watch:
Thursday's Penguins/Flyers game drew 730,000 viewers on Versus, up 46% from Capitals/Bruins on Opening Night last year (501,000) and the most-viewed regular season NHL telecast ever on Versus. The previous record was 622,000 viewers for Penguins/Red Wings in March of this year.
To put the numbers in perspective, only two regular season telecasts on Versus even topped 500,000 viewers last season -- the aforementioned Capitals/Bruins and Penguins/Red Wings games.
The Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup defense also opened well, via Versus PR:
VERSUS' coverage of the Colorado Avalanche/Chicago Blackhawks game averaged 430,000 viewers, making it VERSUS' best regular season game ever with a post 9 p.m. ET start time and the most-watched season-opening late game. The game showed a 30-percent spike in viewership over the second game to start the 2009/10 season (332,000 viewers).
In Chicago VERSUS garnered 3.4 HH rating, making it the network's highest-rated regular season game ever in the market. The game also propelled VERSUS to the #1 cable network in Chicago.
The "second game to start the 2009-10 season" last year was Joe Sakic(notes) Night for the Colorado Avalanche against the San Jose Sharks, according to Steve Lepore. So a spike may have been expected with the defending champs on TV.