Viewership for the NBC Sports telecast of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) May 7 fell from record-setting levels the previous two years, but remained solid, particularly in comparison to other sporting events.
The 2011 Derby scored a national rating of 8.5 and a 19 share, compared to a 9.8/23 each of the previous two years. The share represents the percentage of TVs in use that were tuned to the telecast.
For the race portion of the Derby telecast from 6:06-6:54 p.m. ET, Neilsen Company data indicated 14.54 million viewers tuned in, down 12% from last year’s 16.5 million and off 10 percent from 2009’s 16.3 million. The latter two years represented the two most-watched Derbys since 1989, when 18.5 million viewers saw Sunday Silence defeat Easy Goer.
The 2011 numbers represented the fourth most-watched Derby in the past 21 years. The other Derby with higher viewership in that period was 2004 when Smary Jones was watched by 14.6 million viewers.
The top five markets for the 2011 Derby were: Louisville (34.4/62), Cincinnati (21.2/37), West Palm Beach (18.4/32), Dayton (16.2/28), and Ft. Myers (16.1/31).