Category Archives: Versus

Ratings Update

I haven’t posted much when it comes to weekly ratings lately so I’m past due.

These Canadian BBM Ratings are sourced from The Remote Control Blog.


TSN WJC Pregame 905,000
TSN Finland/Canada 2,210,000


Sportsnet Ontario Toronto @ Florida 813,000


TSN WJC Pregame 812,000
TSN Czech Republic/Canada 2,484,000
TSN Vancouver @ San Jose 931,000


TSN WJC Pregame 883,000
TSN Denmark/Canada 1,829,000


TSN USA/Czech Republic 684,000


CBC Winter Classic Alumni 416,000
CBC Regional 7 PM (Tor/Wpg, Mtl/Fla) 1,595,000
CBC Vancouver @ Los Angeles 760,000
TSN WJC Pregame 831,000
TSN USA/Canada 2,718,000


The Voice of TV has a complete recap of Versus ratings from November 28-December 14. The high for that period was Philadelphia/Buffalo (585k, 12/7) while the low was San Jose/Colorado (193k, 12/13).

Puck The Media has some numbers courtesy of TVSportsratings on Twitter. The debut NBC Sports Network game featuring San Jose @ Vancouver drew a respectable 267,000. Considering that it went up against the Fiesta Bowl and featured a Canadian club, that’s not too bad. It was also a season high for a game that featured the Sharks. Other games from earlier drew similar numbers. Dallas/St. Louis (270k, 12/26) and NY Rangers/Washington (327k, 12/28) had to be slight disappointments since both games were exclusive telecasts.


A Few Thoughts

Here’s a few thoughts to get 2012 started.

  • Overall, the folks at NBC did a decent job with the Winter Classic. Sure, there was Mike Milbury’s verbal gaffe but things went pretty well. They did a nice job showing the warm ups although the audio kept dropping out on some of the mics. Fortunately, those problems were fixed as the telecast went on. There were some great visuals and sometimes the audio was too good as there were plenty of expletives overheard. The new NBC graphics are solid. They certainly reminded me of ESPN.
  • Some of the minuses include the so-called “NHL Pregame” that took over the 1 PM slot. Let’s call it what it was – a repeat of NBC Sports: A Storied Journey. That’s a fine documentary but there’s little hockey involved. We were also treated to a promo video hyping the London Olympics, something that doesn’t go with hockey what so ever. This led to a short discussion about the Vancouver games. It seemed awkward, even if it was filler.
  • Another minus were some of NBC’s talent. Jeremy Roenick was there, at least for a little bit. I realize he was in town for alumni purposes, among other things, but he was barely utilized on the telecast before heading back to Stamford for the game on NBCSN. And I know they want this to be a big “event” but Bob Costas and Jim Cantore add little to the broadcast. Costas is a fine host but so is Liam McHugh. McHugh works the NHL all year-long, he deserves the TV time. It seems kinda rotten to demote your regular host just because this is labeled a special event. Costas wasn’t even around for the early filler programming, as Mike Emrick helmed the studio. As far as Cantore goes, there isn’t much that he says that anyone couldn’t figure out by looking at the flags or a radar.
  • Moving on to the new NBC Sports Network, Cold War on Ice was terrific. CBC had a two-part movie on the Summit Series a few years ago, but they or TSN would be wise to pick this up. Unlike NHL 36 which was a letdown, Cold War was riveting from start to finish. With all the delays and scheduling shuffles, viewers might’ve missed this, but its appointment viewing for any hockey fan. This was a very good way to kick off the new NBCSN even if it was for a very niche audience. And, if you haven’t read it yet, check out Puck Daddy’s eulogy on Versus. It’s a funny summary and shows just how far the network has come from its OLN days.
  • Backtracking a little bit, the Versus coverage of the Winter Classic Alumni Game was a little shaky. The unique collaboration was an improvement over last year’s coverage which was tape delayed and completely chopped up. Jim Jackson and Kevin Weekes were their usual selves although there were a few times that Jim seemed lost and Weekes seemed to lean on cliches a little too much. Al Trautwig brought his dramatic flair to the proceedings. The real negative was Steve Coates. While at times he was humorous, he was also a mess. Many times he failed to identify who he was interviewing and just starting joking and chatting with them. That would be fine if we knew who he was talking to. This happened repeatedly, and as a relatively younger viewer, I didn’t always know who these people were. Thank goodness that graphics were usually shown at some point. Coates was just too silly and didn’t cut it.
  • While NBCSN got off to an ominous start with the delayed game, things didn’t go much better for NHL Network. A key to NHLN’s new look was their coverage of the World Junior Hockey Championships. It was promoted heavily in promos, including some featuring former Team USA players cheering this year’s team on. With USA bombing, the hype is largely over for this tourney and NHLN will lose some eyeballs. At least their Winter Classic coverage was pretty good.
  • And while the WJC were disappointing in the States, TSN is hauling in huge crowds. The first three Hockey Canada games averaged 2.3 million viewers. The tournament continues to get larger each year. With the TV rights expiring in 2014, you have to believe that Hockey Canada will be bringing in some serious dollars, just from broadcasting alone. That doesn’t count any other revenues like rink advertising as Hockey Canada is a partner with the IIHF sharing virtually all of the tourney’s revenue streams.

Posted by on January 3, 2012 in NBC, NHL, NHL Network, Ratings, Television, TSN, Versus


Milbury Case Dismissed

Via The Boston Herald –

Ex-Bruin Mike Milbury will not face any charges and his case over an alleged confrontation in Brookline with a boy following a peewee hockey game earlier this month has been thrown out.

Milbury’s legal team announced this afternoon that a clerk magistrate at Brookline District Court has ruled there is not enough evidence to move ahead in the case.

Milbury addressed the media right after saying the incident was just “an unfortunate misunderstanding.”

When asked when he will be back on the air as a hockey analyst, Milbury said he was saving his voice for “Christmas caroling.”

His attorney, Mark Berthiaume, said the magistrate ruled there was no probable cause to take the next step in court.

“Mike and his family are are happy to move on,” said Berthiaume. “Mike will be returning to work on the air very, very soon.”

The parents of the alleged victim have left court refusing to speak to the press. Their attorney, John Burke, said the parents are “disappointed” in the ruling.

“They are concerned about the message this sends because they believe that their son was assaulted,” he added.

Milbury is expected to be back in usual spots on TV as a result of this decision.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 24, 2011 in CBC, NBC, NHL, Television, Versus


24/7 & Versus Ratings

John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal tweeted some NHL ratings today.

HBO drew 284K viewers to the first episode Wed night, which is down from last year

The decline for 24/7 is a little surprising but let’s face it, last year’s rivalry was more interesting. One thing to keep in mind is that all HBO programs see a big bump if you add in on demand and encore presentation views. For instance, last year’s first episode ended up with around 2.8 million viewers. But on its actual debut night, 24/7 only drew 383,000 viewers. The key will be for this year’s version to attract viewers from those same alternative platforms.

This year’s numbers are off from the boxing version of 24/7. Cotto/Margarito drew 618k last month but that was likely helped by being a lead in to live boxing. 24/7 usually drops if live boxing isn’t on the schedule.

Also from John Ourand –

Top NHL game on cable: Versus’ CHI-MIN match on Wed drew 540K viewers. More than 3,350 shows had a higher viewership on cable last week.

These Versus ratings are pretty solid but that’s to be expected. Both teams are good regional draws and it was a competitive matchup.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2011 in HBO, NHL, Ratings, Television, Versus


Mike Milbury Accused Of Assaulting Child

This is an interesting story, assuming it is all accurate. There’s not much info out there about it yet, so it’s hard to say what happened. From WCVB

A former Boston Bruin and current TV analyst has been charged with assault and battery on a child.

Michael Milbury, who currently works as a hockey analyst for Versus NHL, was accused of assaulted a 12-year-old youth hockey player at the Dexter School Ice Rink in Brookline last week.
Milbury is an assistant coach of a local hockey team, and the alleged victim is a player from an opposing team.

Milbury played 12 seasons for the Bruins and was head coach for one season.

More details from the Boston Herald

The incident allegedly occurred at the end of the Winter Classic between the Boch Blazers for whom Milbury coaches and his son plays forward vs. the Boston Junior Black Hawks. It is alleged that after Milbury’s son and a player for the Black Hawks got into a scrape on the ice, Milbury charged out onto the rink and verbally berated and grabbed and shook the 12-year-old opposing player.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 16, 2011 in CBC, NBC, NHL, Television, Versus


Ratings Update

Here’s an update on NHL ratings.

These Canadian BBM ratings are sourced from The Remote Control Blog.


Sportsnet Ontario New Jersey @ Toronto 789,000
Sportsnet Pacific Colorado @ Vancouver 469,000


TSN Washington @ Ottawa 525,000
TSN Carolina @ Edmonton 488,000


Sportsnet Ontario Toronto @ Washington 891,000
TSN Colorado @ Edmonton 484,000


CBC 1 PM Montreal @ New Jersey 573,000
CBC 7 PM Regional (Van/Ott,Wpg/Det) 1,592,000
CBC 10 PM Calgary @ Edmonton 1,136,000

All in all, the Leafs continue to be strong. CBC struggled somewhat without them and the Habs afternoon game was a bit disappointing in their numbers. The very early start likely impacted their viewership.

Now, we move on to the United States. These Nielsen ratings come from Puck The Media.


Phoenix @ Chicago 302,000


Detroit @ St. Louis 259,000


Philadelphia @ Buffalo 585,000

A decent week for Versus. Monday’s numbers are a little disappointing since the game was exclusive in Chicago. Phoenix likely dragged the numbers down. Tuesday’s look low but since the Wings were on FS Detroit, that severely impacted what should’ve been a very attractive matchup. However, Wednesday was, as expected, a big ratings draw. The Flyers and Sabres always draw plenty of eyeballs as proven by their strong regional ratings.


Leave a comment

Posted by on December 16, 2011 in CBC, NHL, Ratings, Television, TSN, Versus


Thoughts On NHL 36 & 24/7

It was a great time to be a hockey fan on Wednesday night. It got off to kind of a rough start as NHL 36 was just about as I expected. It wasn’t terrific but it had its moments. It definitely reminded me of A Day in the Life of on NHL Network. Basically, this was just a flashier version of that show.

NHL Original Productions are clearly going for an NFL Films feel with its slow motion camera work and soaring music. Of course, fancy production is only half the battle. Content is what matters and NHL 36 could use more compelling footage. I didn’t care for Peter Coyote as narrator. They would’ve done just as well with Doc Emrick handling the duties. The show itself was very slow moving at times, which is odd since it was 22 minutes long. Much of it was fluff and was somewhat playing for the cameras.

In the end, it was no 24/7. For that matter, it was no Oil Change either. It was more on the level of Becoming Wild. A decent hockey program that’s fun to watch, but not required viewing. My guess is that it will find its groove as time goes by.

While 36 had some hiccups, the night’s highlight was on the way. As expected, HBO’s 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic didn’t disappoint. Any show that features The Black Keys and Fitz and the Tantrums on its soundtrack has to be pretty cool. From its music to its amazing camera work, 24/7 was on point.

It didn’t take long to see the star potential for several players. Naturally, Sean Avery was at a fashion shoot. Wayne Simmonds helped open up an urban ice rink. Ryan Callahan had an emotional reunion with his family in Buffalo. But perhaps the real star was Ilya Bryzgalov. Goalies are stereotyped as being odd and Bryzgalov delivered. His comments are sure to become YouTube fodder for years to come.

One area where 24/7 really shines is in their access. All those mics and camera work paid off in spades after Michael del Zotto crashed into the boards. The footage was mesmerizing. Then, there was the footage of Artem Anisimov and the Rangers reaction after his showboating celebration. Stuff like that is hard to beat. To top it off, cameras followed Claude Giroux around and viewers got to see a peek into concussion baseline testing.

24/7 touches all emotions. It can be heartwarming and then switch right over to footage of brutal combat. No hockey series can compare. This year’s edition is off to a strong start. As fans, we’re completely spoiled by this access. Traditionally, Saturday night is a cant miss night for hockey fans. 24/7 changes that. For the next few weeks, Wednesday nights will be must see television for all hockey fans.

The real question is why anyone would schedule 36 on the same night as the debut of 24/7. There’s no way they could ever compare and having them on the same night was silly. It made 36 look quite amateur if you compared them side by side. The only plus was that 36 made it to air a few hours earlier. If it was the opposite, you probably would’ve fallen asleep. The good news is that this problem even exists. The more behind the scenes, the better it is for the fans. Lets hope this trend continues.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 15, 2011 in HBO, NHL, Television, Versus