I’ve been tracking the ratings for the new Versus shows and they continue to struggle. College football was the networks high point over last week or so. A game between Nebraska and Wyoming on September 24 drew 586,000 viewers. That game drew flies compared to its competition on the ESPN networks and FX but for VS., that’s a very respectable number. The rest of the week was a mess.
NBC Sports Talk continues to draw flies but its ratings have jumped a little. It’s now averaging around 18,000 viewers per week during its Tues/Wed/Thurs. airings but it’s still lower than the shows it replaced. NFL Turning Point was hurt by being bumped to a later timeslot after preseason hockey on Thursday. The show drew a series low of 66,000 viewers. The ultimate bust is on Friday nights where Game On and Sports Talk are losing viewers rapidly each week. TVSportsratings has the gruesome numbers which show new series lows for Game On . Game On is now down to 16,000 viewers placing it as one of the lowest rated shows on the entire network. Game On debuted to 36,000 viewers several weeks ago.
I’m not really into ratings news but these numbers are frighteningly low which is why I’ve been writing about them. Versus is regularly criticized for airing outdoors programming, but those shows easily double and in some cases, triple these new shows in viewers. If the ratings don’t see a bump once hockey season starts up, you have to wonder if NBC will continue to pour money and effort into them. Financially, its hard to see how it is worth it. Nobody said it would be easy to draw viewers, but in this economic climate, it may not make sense to even try. Fox Sports Net gave it a valiant effort to compete against ESPN but gave up after five years of losing money. The obvious key will be to get some more sports on the net but that will take plenty of cash.
Puck The Media has posted the ratings for all four preseason games on Versus. They averaged just over 97,000 viewers. I don’t think anyone was expecting much as these games weren’t promoted much, were mostly blacked out locally and several had competition from games airing on NHL Network.