1) The NHL announced today that their national net work carrier, Versus(Previously known as OLN) has picked up an option to televise NHL games for three more years. The hard to find cable network, began televising NHL games during the 2005-06 season. It paid an amazing $65 million for the first year, $70 million for the second, and exercised its $72.5 million option for this season. At this point its unknown how much additional money (if any) the network will pay the league over the next 3 seasons.
2) This should effectively end the rampant speculation that the NHL would return to ESPN. Apparently that boat has sailed and the league is fine with its very limited exposure on the once "Outdoor Life Network) By the way: If anyone knows what Versus stands for we'd LOVE to find out! LOL Apparently rating have 'soared'. Through 29 games, average viewership has increased 34 percent from 195,666 to 261,760. That 34% sounded great until we saw the figure of almost 262,000. That's a mere blip on the radar of TV viewership. Keep in mind these are almost all prime time telecasts.
3) Just to compare: Currently, five American TV networks CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and the NFLNetwork are paying a combined total of 3.1 billion per year to broadcast NFL games. Many fans complained that they either don't get this network, or have to pay a higher fee to their cable companies to get it. Either the NHL is happy with this arrangement OR more likely feels it couldn't do any better.