Versus, which has been the national home of NHL games since 2005, plans to add more games to its lineup this season. According to Tripp Mickle in today’s Sports Business Daily, Versus will televise an additional 13 NHL games this season, bringing the total to 78.
The Comcast-owned network plans to complement its hockey game coverage by adding 30 “Hockey Central” pregame shows before the NHL telecasts.
When it acquired the rights to NHL games, Versus was betting that it would be proving its worth as a viable competitor to ESPN and Turner Sports once Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association rights came up. Of course, the deep pockets and even deeper relationships between Turner, ESPN and the leagues nipped that fear in the bud.
However, Comcast is close to completing its acquisition of NBC Universal, which will likely result in NBC Sports & Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol adding oversight of Versus to his plate.
The new company would have the deep pockets and the connections to get deals done that Versus could only have dreamed of before.