Versus Network to exclusively air Blackhawks/Canucks Game 1


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Posted by chicagomedia.org on April 30, 2009 at 13:07:35:

Conference Semifinals Begin Tonight on Versus With Exclusive Game 1 Coverage of Blackhawks/Canucks

Double-Digit Viewership Growth during Conference Quarterfinals Results in Best First Round Ever for the Network

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 30, 2009) -- VERSUS, the exclusive cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), will continue its wall-to-wall coverage of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Conference Semifinals commence tonight. The network begins its night of second-round action at 8:30 p.m. ET with Hockey Central followed by exclusive coverage of Game 1 in the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks series at 9 p.m. ET. All of VERSUS' NHL games are produced and presented in HD where available.

During the 2009 Conference Quarterfinals, in which VERSUS aired 26 games, the network earned its most-watched first round ever. As compared to year-ago figures from the opening postseason round, total viewership increased 23 percent while viewership for Men 18-49 (up 20%) and Men 25-54 (up 31%) also showed substantial growth.

"The 2009 NHL playoffs on VERSUS got off to a tremendous start," said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. "There were upsets, sweeps and series that went the full seven games, proving that anything can happen at any moment during the postseason. As we enter the second round there is no doubt that hockey fans will see even more terrific match-ups featuring exciting players as their quest to raise the coveted Stanley Cup continues."

In the Conference Semifinal round (See Schedule), VERSUS will air two exclusive games per series and during the Conference Finals the network will air exclusive coverage of both series. The total number of games will vary depending upon the length of each individual series. VERSUS will, when feasible, simulcast games from other networks to give viewers bonus postseason action. VERSUS' 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will culminate with games three and four of the Stanley Cup Final. This is a change from the past three seasons as VERSUS previously aired games one and two of the Final. NBC will broadcast games one and two of the Final as well as games five, six and seven, if necessary.

VERSUS will continue to air its dedicated NHL studio show, Hockey Central, each night the network televises a game. Hosted by Bill Patrick with Brian Engblom and Keith Jones, Hockey Central provides extensive insight and commentary of the games and what's happening around the NHL in the 2009 Playoffs. Some of the regular segments of Hockey Central include: highlights from all the games being played as well as Plays of the Week; a telestrator segment in which Engblom will breakdown and discuss plays in a visually engaging manner; Parting Shots, where Engblom and Jones debate bullet point debate topics in rapid fire fashion; Live-Look-Ins wherever possible, bringing viewers live action from games being played concurrently during VERSUSí telecast; and features on NHL players away from the ice.

Each night VERSUS airs a game, the network delivers a condensed highlight version of the game via the network's VOD platform. These are available the morning after game play, so that hockey fans who may not have seen the previous night's game wonít miss any of the postseason action.

The network's website, www.VERSUS.com, is the online destination for NHL fans to find extensive information about the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. The site includes editorial coverage from some of the most knowledgeable hockey sources and will feature exclusive videos and interviews as well as daily highlights from all of VERSUS' games. The website also includes editorial coverage from HockeyBuzz.com, which provides viewers with game projections for each of the network's telecasts. Viewers also have access to daily insider video featuring the Hockey Central analysts where they give the inside scoop on what has happened to-date in the playoffs, as well as their predictions for the future games in the series. Fans can also play the Stanley Cup Playoffs trivia game on the website for their chance to win weekly prizes. Additionally, the website has the Playoff Forecaster which allows fans to track and follow their team's progression to the Cup. Viewers can also go to www.VERSUS.com to enter their mobile telephone number to receive real-time game alerts throughout the playoffs so they know when games are about to go in to sudden-death overtime.

(Press Release)


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