At the midway point of this season, national audiences on Versus are up 32 per cent from this time last year.
Versus is drawing numbers comparable with ESPN2's viewership in 2003-04, which was the last year of its deal with the NHL.
Regionally, the audiences on Fox Sports Net have increased 25 per cent. FSN, which airs regional telecasts in 14 markets, has seen huge increases for the Minnesota Wild (114 per cent), St. Louis Blues (103 per cent) and Detroit Red Wings (50 per cent).
On the downside, audiences for the Atlanta Thrashers have dropped 50 per cent. The Phoenix Coyotes numbers are down 35 per cent. Viewership for the Tampa Bay Lightning has declined 31 per cent and the Dallas Stars are in the hole by 29 per cent.
However, when ESPN2 was airing games, the telecasts were blacked out in the local markets. Versus has the advantage of going into the local markets.