The overnight rating for this year's Derby was down a bit from last year's figure, but the Derby was the highest-rated sports program of the weekend, said Kevin Sullivan, a spokesman for NBC Sports.
The Derby earned an overnight rating of 7.7, down from 8.3 in 2002, and a 17 share, down from 19 last year. However, the rating for the part of the program when the race was run (6-6:30 p.m. ET) was up from 2002.
The race segment overnight rating was 9.9. (The national rating was 9.7 last year.) The segment this year earned a substantial 22 share.
"We're very pleased," Sullivan said May 5 before the final numbers were released. "Let's see where it is when we come out with a national number."
On May 4, the final game in the series between the victorious Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association scored a rating of 5.8, Sullivan said. Therefore, the Derby rating "is a pretty big number," Sullivan said.
Under the latest guidelines, one rating point is the equivalent of 717,310 households.
For the 5:30-6:30 p.m. segment on NBC, Louisville, Ky., was the top market by overnight share with 34.5. The other markets in the top 10 were Fort Myers, Fla., at 16.8; West Palm Beach, Fla., at 14.2; Baltimore, Md., at 13.7; and Cincinnati, Ohio, at 13.6; Cleveland, Ohio, at 12.9; Columbus, Ohio, at 12.7; and Nashville, Tenn., at 12.2. There was a four-way tie for 10th between St. Louis, Mo.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Daytona Beach, Fla., all of which earned an 11.5 overnight share.